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DOD pauses administration of J&J vaccine to military

DOD pauses administration of J&J vaccine to military
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The Department of Defense (DOD) is pausing its administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the military after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for such a move over rare instances of blood clots.

“At the recommendation of the FDA and CDC, the Department of Defense is immediately pausing the use of the J&J vaccine,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement. 

“The safety of our force and their families is a top priority for the Department. We are communicating this pause to our military health facilities and are reviewing our global vaccine distribution to address this issue and ensure we can continue to provide vaccines to our DoD population at home and abroad,” Kirby added.

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DOD joins a host of states that paused administering the vaccine after the recommendations from federal health experts.

Each state is handling the pause differently, with some states telling people to keep their appointments and others saying that their shots will need to be rescheduled.

Some branches of the military have been struggling with getting members to get the coronavirus vaccine, with Marines declining at a rate of 40 percent.

The Johnson & Johnson pause could particularly made a difference for Pentagon vaccination efforts overseas. The vaccine is the only of the three approved for use in the U.S. that is one-shot, and it doesn't require refrigeration at ultra-cold temperatures, so DOD has been largely been using it for inoculation efforts outside of the country.

Kirby said it is unclear when the DOD will start administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine again.

The Johnson & Johnson pause threatens to hinder the Biden administration's aggressive vaccine rollout, though the White House said Tuesday that it won't have a "significant impact" as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine supply remains steady.