What to Know About Johnson & Johnson Vaccines in California

Wednesday: How will a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines affect the Golden State’s rollout?,

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ImageRachel Daniel receiving her vaccine in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Rachel Daniel receiving her vaccine in Los Angeles on Tuesday.Credit…Allison Zaucha for The New York Times

Good morning.

The nation’s vaccination campaign has been rolling along and picking up steam. Some 22 percent of California’s roughly 40 million residents are fully vaccinated, and more are signing up for appointments. Covid-19 case rates in the state are at some of their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic.

All of that progress, however, was tied to a continuing steady supply of vaccine doses.

Which means it was pretty deflating to wake up Tuesday morning to the news that federal health agencies had called for a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine after six women who got it developed a rare blood-clotting disorder.

Experts emphasized that the recommendation was made out of an abundance of caution.

So how is this affecting us here in the Golden State? Here’s what you need to know:

Is California pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines?

Yes.

California’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Erica Pan, said in a statement on Tuesday that the state would follow the federal guidance and was directing health care providers to pause the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, “until we receive further direction from health and safety experts.”

Dr. Pan added that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine made up less than 4 percent of California’s allocation for the week.

“We do not expect a significant impact to our vaccination allocations,” she said.

State officials did not estimate how long the pause would last, although federal regulators have said their review is likely to take only days — not weeks or months.

Will this affect California’s reopening plan?

It’s possible, but probably — hopefully — not, state officials said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Twitter that the state was vaccinating more than three million people per week, and that the state was “still on track to fully reopen” on June 15, as his administration had announced with much fanfare. But the plan is dependent on widespread accessibility of vaccines.

[Read about the state’s plan to end its lockdowns.]

Furthermore, the news of the pause comes just before the state is set to expand eligibility to anyone age 16 and older on Thursday — a move that some experts have worried will lead to frustration, as an explosion in demand for doses coincides with a decrease in supply and strains an already-confusing patchwork of appointment systems.

In a news conference during which he signed legislation to spend more than half a billion dollars on urgent wildfire protection measures, the governor said that while this week has been affected by the pause, “our medium- and long-term goals are not impacted, because of the abundance of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.”

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Doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in March. Credit…Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

How many Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been administered in California?

Almost seven million Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been administered in the U.S. so far, including, Mr. Newsom said, “the one that went into my arm.” In the state, about 900,000 Johnson & Johnson doses have been administered, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Should I be worried if I already got a Johnson & Johnson shot?

Nah, not really.

As my colleagues explained in this helpful primer, fewer than one in a million Johnson & Johnson vaccinations are under investigation, and it still hasn’t been determined that the blood clots were related to the vaccine.

And pauses like this are common even after vaccines go into wide use to investigate further if an unusually large cluster of a certain type of medical cases turns up among people who’ve been inoculated.

The Food and Drug Administration recommended that you contact your doctor if you’ve gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the past three weeks and you’re experiencing severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath.

But you don’t need to worry about mild headaches and other flulike symptoms within the first few days after getting jabbed — those are common and just mean that your immune system is building up its coronavirus defenses.

[Read the full explanation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the (tiny) risk of blood clots.]

Will my vaccine appointment be honored?

It should be, but as we’ve reported, California’s vaccine rollout has been fragmented.

Mr. Newsom said that almost 9,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments made through the state’s My Turn appointment system would need to be converted to Moderna or Pfizer doses.

Some clinics, like ones in Riverside County, will be giving people the option to either get a dose of a different vaccine or to reschedule, The Press-Enterprise reported. Los Angeles County said providers would contact individual patients about rescheduling their Johnson & Johnson shots or getting a new appointment to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to ABC7.

You may want to try to check with your provider ahead of time. Or if you’re able to show up for your original appointment and you’re open to getting a two-dose vaccine, that will probably be your best option.

(This article is part of the California Today newsletter. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox.)


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Protesters rallying outside Brooklyn Center Police Headquarters on Monday were met by a cordon of members of the police and National Guard, a day after Daunte Wright was shot by a police officer.Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Compiled by Jonathan Wolfe

  • The chief of police for Brooklyn Center, Minn., where Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by a white officer on Sunday, said that the shooting was an accident and that the officer intended to use her Taser, but had shot her service pistol instead. How could an officer mistake a gun for a Taser? [New York Times]

  • A new study into homeless encampments found that cities are paying millions in clearance costs to move homeless people from one camp to another. [Bloomberg]

  • California lifted limits on indoor worship services after the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down restrictions on indoor gatherings imposed during the pandemic. [Associated Press]

  • A proposed California law that would have banned fracking and other oil extraction methods died in the State Senate. [San Francisco Chronicle]

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The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office searching the home of Ruben Flores in Arroyo Grande, Calif., on Tuesday.Credit…David Middlecamp/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo), via Associated Press
  • Kristin Smart, a Cal Poly student, disappeared in 1996 after a frat party. Nearly 25 years later, Paul Flores, who walked her home and was the last person to see her alive, was arrested and charged with murder. [New York Times]

  • Stephen Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain as the Warriors’ career scoring leader. His postgame total of 17,818 surpassed Chamberlain’s 17,783. [New York Times]

  • Purple sea urchins have decimated California’s kelp forests, which scientists estimate have shrunk 95 percent. One solution is to eat the urchins. A Guardian writer tried it. [The Guardian]

  • Hope you can get by on grass jelly: Shops across the Bay Area, and the rest of the country, are running low on boba. [San Francisco Chronicle]


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Credit…Brian Rea

We here at California Today love a good love story — and we know you probably do too.

So we’re passing along a request from our colleagues who make the Modern Love Podcast: They want to hear from you — literally, they want to hear your voices — about how you’re figuring out who does which housework in the pandemic.

The podcast is returning for a new season, and they want to hear about the creative (or fraught) ways you’re handling the division of labor at home. Do you flip a coin? Reverse traditional gender roles? Leave passive-aggressive notes? Send in a submission, and you might make it onto a future episode.


California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read every edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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