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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

State Health Department Again Recommending Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
New York National Guard/Public Domain
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Montana’s state health department is recommending that providers in the state resume administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Federal health officials Friday lifted the pause on the shot. Health officials say the benefits outweigh the risks of very rare blood clots potentially linked to the vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been a boon to community health centers working to vaccinate hard-to-reach populations like those experiencing homelessness, those with limited transportation or home-bound populations.

Eric Halverson with the Partnership Health Center in Missoula says, “A one-dose vaccine makes a lot of sense for those populations, but it’s going to be important for us moving forward as well that we make sure folks are aware of the new warning issued by the CDC and FDA, and that they’re also made aware of other options that they might want to have.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pumped the brakes on the Johnson & Johnson shot for a little over a week due to a handful of rare blood clot cases in women under 60 years old. Federal health officials say they have identified 15 cases total that the risk is very low. Millions of Johnson & Johnson vaccines have already been administered across the U.S.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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