Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) offered words of calm Tuesday following U.S. federal health agencies calling for an “immediate pause” on administrating the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, noting that no major issues with that particular vaccine have been reported in the Sunshine State.
“We have not seen any significant effects with J&J here in Florida,” DeSantis said during a Tuesday press conference. “I think the track record thus far in Florida has been good.”
Nonetheless, DeSantis said Florida will respect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decisions and follow the recommendation.
“At the same time, because CDC is doing that, you know, we’re respecting that decision, we’re gonna follow that recommendation and monitor what they’re doing for the time being,” the Republican governor said. “But I think that what they’re doing is that of an abundance of caution.”
DeSantis, who refused to jump ahead in line to receive a coronavirus vaccine despite his status as a public official, recently received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“I’m 42; I’m going to be closer to the back of the line, but when it is my turn, I’m going to take the Johnson & Johnson,” he said in February.
“I’m just going to get one shot and then be done. So I think it’s really good. I think the data, it was fantastic and I just hope that people, when they’re making these decisions, aren’t thinking that somehow it’s ineffective,” he added.
DeSantis’s Tuesday remarks followed U.S. health agencies calling for the “immediate pause” of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following reports of six Americans developing a rare disorder involving blood clots:
“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said in a joint statement. “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”
This was to “ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events.”
“We are aware that thromboembolic events including those with thrombocytopenia have been reported with Covid-19 vaccines. At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen (J&J) Covid-19 [coronavirus] vaccine,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.
The White House on Tuesday said the announcement will “not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan” as Johnson & Johnson comprises less than 5 percent of the recorded shots in the U.S.
“We are working now with our state and federal partners to get anyone scheduled for a J&J vaccine quickly rescheduled for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine,” the White House added.
Over 189 million shots have been administered in the U.S. to date, according to the CDC’s April 12 data.