(Source: Johnson & Johnson)
(Source: Johnson & Johnson)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health said Thursday it is extending the suspension of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine use until April 24 or until updated federal guidance is provided.

The department had originally imposed the "pause" for one week, from this past Tuesday through Tuesday, April 20.

The pause is part of a nationwide halt to J&J vaccination, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration due to concerns over rare blood clots in six women who were among the 6.8 million J&J vaccine recipients. One of the six is from Pennsylvania.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met Wednesday to discuss the matter, but adjourned without making a recommendation. It is expected to meet again within a week to 10 days.

Pennsylvania has primarily used the J&J vaccine to inoculate teachers, school staff and child care workers. Out of more than 6.6 vaccine doses administered in the state, 247,063, or 3.7%, were J&J doses.

“The safety procedures built into the vaccination process are working and should instill confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the available COVID-19 vaccines,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a statement. “I urge individuals who have appointments scheduled to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination to keep those appointments.”

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