County Administrator's Office
For Immediate Release

Sonoma County statement on Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause

Santa Rosa, CA  –  April 13, 2021  –  On behalf of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, the County of Sonoma issued the following statement today from Dr. Urmila Shende, the County's Vaccine chief, concerning the FDA's recommendation to "pause" the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine:

"At the recommendation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CDC and the California Department of Public Health, Sonoma County has paused further allocation and use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine while its safety is reviewed by federal authorities. We do not believe this precautionary interruption will have a significant impact on our vaccination efforts here in Sonoma County as, due to production delays on the East Coast, we only received about 400 J&J doses this week. This does not include federal allocations of the J&J vaccine that have gone out to pharmacies or other vendors. We do not have access to those numbers.

The County is supporting a drive-through clinic today at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building that was scheduled to administer J&J vaccines to about 100 people. Our Health team was able to quickly switch gears this morning, and that clinic was allowed to go forward as scheduled using the Moderna vaccine instead.

It's our understanding the West County Community Health Center also had a clinic planned for today using the J&J vaccine, but that clinic has been suspended for now. Of the more than 362,000 vaccine doses administered in Sonoma County, about 11,000 have been J&J.

While the immediate impacts of this delay may be minimal in our area, we recognize that this will make finding vaccination appointments all the more difficult particularly at a time when eligibility will be opening up to everyone age 16 and over starting on Thursday. We encourage everyone to be patient as they search for appointments as our supply was already limited before this hold took effect.

As for those with questions about the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a joint statement and are expected to issue additional health guidance. Please recognize that this pause in distribution is being done out of an abundance of caution. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccination have been administered nationally. Of these, federal health authorities are looking into six reported cases of a type of blood clot occurring with symptoms appearing six to 13 days after vaccination. So while the possible links are concerning, these cases are extremely rare, as noted by state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan. Nevertheless, COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal, state and local governments, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. Community members who experience severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain and/or shortness of breath in one to three weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine should contact their primary care provider or local health clinic."

Read more on Dr. Pan's statement today


Contact Information

Paul Gullixson
Communications Manager
County Administrator's Office
County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive
Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464665, -122.725235