ORLANDO, Fla. – As the nation waits for federal health officials to finish reviewing Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine — currently on hold due to a handful of reports of blood clots — Florida officials are pressing pause on the state’s mobile vaccination sites through at least the weekend.
Officials with the Florida Division of Emergency Management said Thursday all mobile vaccination events are canceled through Sunday due to supply issues.
“After reviewing current supply, the state does not have enough Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to continue these events at the same capacity for this week,” Samantha Bequer, Press Secretary for the FDEM, said in a statement.
State officials said they’re preparing to make changes to next week’s plans based on any potential guidance that comes down from federal health officials.
“In the event the state does not receive further guidance from the CDC and the FDA by the end of this week, the state is preparing for next week’s allocation and determining how to supplement these efforts with Pfizer and Moderna. The state is reviewing all available options and will make adjustments to the state’s allocation supply as necessary,” Bequer said.
Bequer said the mobile sites are crucial to vaccinating underserved communities throughout Florida and the state is committed to continuing them.
State officials are encouraging Floridians to visit a state-supported vaccination site while officials await further guidance from the federal government. According to Bequer, state-supported sites welcome walk-ups and most are open daily. A full list of state-supported vaccination sites and their hours of operations is available at FloridaDisaster.org/Vaccine.
Earlier this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis put a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine across the state. The halt came at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration after six women developed blood clots after receiving the vaccine.
Following the governor’s announcement, the four FEMA-backed vaccination sites in Florida — including the one at Valencia College West Campus in Orlando — could once again offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The state said it is working with FEMA to figure out the logistics of getting these additional first doses of Pfizer to those federally-backed sites. At the moment, there is no timeframe for when those Pfizer first doses would be available at the sites.
“The goal remains to ensure all Floridians who want a vaccine, can receive one. The state is continuing to explore all options in order to supplement vaccination efforts previously supported by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Bequer said.
Currently, the four FEMA-backed sites are only providing second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to people who were previously inoculated there. Those sites stopped offering the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on April 5 began offering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine exclusively to new patients on April 6.
The governor said earlier this week he doesn’t anticipate the pause on the J&J shots will last long.
While meeting to discuss the Johnson & Johnson shot Wednesday, government health advisers declared that they need more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot — and if so, how big the risk really is.
If you or someone you know received the J&J vaccine, here’s what you need to know.
The government says there are no signs of similar clots after vaccination with the Pfizer and Moderna shots that are the mainstay of the COVID-19 fight in the U.S.