CDC Johnson and Johnson: Chicago COVID vaccine clinic opens at Englewood school, again offering single-dose shot

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After an 11-day pause over blood clot concerns, the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccines are once again going into arms in Illinois, Indiana and other parts of the country.

The United States has more than nine million doses ready to be used and the City of Chicago isn't wasting any time.

Health care providers in Illinois can immediately begin administering Johnson and Johnson's vaccine after federal authorities lifted a temporary pause on the shots.

Starting Saturday, the city-run site at Kennedy King College will be offering the shots.

Christopher Bradley doesn't really care which vaccine he gets, he just wants the shot.

"It's a good thing because people in this neighborhood are not able to travel to the United Center or things like that, so it really is a blessing," Bradley said.

The Englewood neighborhood resident and retired military vet was one of several people who received the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Saturday at the Kennedy King College vaccination site in Chicago.

Most of those with already scheduled appointments at the weekend location at West 63rd Street and South Halsted Street received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

"I'm excited that I did the Pfizer and it worked out that way," said Dan Schifer. "I think the Johnson and Johnson is interesting."

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel voted 10-4 with one abstention to move forward with using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and that's exactly what the Chicago Department of Public Health did at the Englewood school Saturday.

The CDC and FDA are both said they're confident this COVID-19 vaccine's benefits outweigh the risks after reviewing a series of rare blood clots in women.

RELATED: Illinois COVID-19 Update: IL reports 3,369 new coronavirus cases, 22 deaths; Chicago-run vaccine sites start walk-ins

The CDC said there are now 15 cases, most of them clots near the brain, all in women between 18 and 59 years old.

"They have to be warned about the potential signs and symptoms of having a blood clot, and the doctors with their patients will have to make a decision about going forward with that," Dr. Richard Novak with UI Health said. "The chances of getting a blood clot are actually substantially reduced if you take the vaccine and are prevented from getting coronavirus."

Saturday morning, Cook County health officials said they expect to restart using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine sometime next week.

Lake County officials also said they will resume use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, they said their remaining supply from before the pause is very limited and anticipate only having Pfizer and Moderna to use at mass vaccination sites this coming week.

"I think the risk is super low, so I would get it," said Matt Brozweicz.

Three women died and seven are still hospitalized. Experts are stressing this is rare: These 15 cases are out of about 8 million J and J shots given.

Part of the CDC's plan moving forward is to add a warning so that patients and doctors are better educated and able to deal with the disorder if it comes up.
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