Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup Recommends Resuming Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Workgroup report concludes J&J vaccine is safe and effective, and that resumption of its use will support COVID-19 vaccine uptake, help reduce severe COVID-19 illnesses and control the pandemic

Recognizes the importance of the multiple systems in place in the U.S. to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines  

SACRAMENTO – The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup today completed its review of the federal process and has concluded that use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Biotech) COVID-19 vaccine should resume in the western states. The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington this afternoon.

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted its pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following a review by a federal vaccine safety review panel. The Workgroup further recommended that vaccine information fact sheets be culturally and linguistically appropriate, and available in multiple languages at an accessible reading level to inform conversations between health care providers and vaccine recipients.

Washington, Oregon and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October. The Workgroup, made up of nationally-acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccines. It will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.

Statement from California Governor Gavin Newsom:

“After additional review, analysis and scrutiny, experts have concluded the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe, effective and will protect you against the COVID-19 virus. To date, about a million Californians have already received this vaccine – including myself and many of the state’s top doctors. I encourage all Californians to trust the science, getting vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones and end the pandemic.”

Statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown:

“I am grateful to count myself among the nearly 7 million Americans protected by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With this thorough scientific review by leading state and federal doctors, scientists, and health experts, Oregonians can be confident that this vaccine is safe and effective, and that the benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 far outweigh the risks of this exceedingly rare adverse effect. My heart goes out to the family in Oregon who lost a loved one after receiving her shot, and all others who may have been impacted by this rare condition. Just as they do with other medications, doctors now have the information they need to assess when any additional precautions should be taken.”

Statement from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak:

“The benefits of the one-shot Janssen vaccine clearly outweigh the risks – that’s what the short pause allowed leading scientific minds to study and review, at both the federal and state level. As one of many Nevadans who gladly took this vaccine when it was offered to me, I look forward to resuming the use of the vaccine in our State, along with the Moderna and Pfizer products. Every shot in an arm puts Nevada one step closer to recovery.”

Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:

“The benefits of the J&J vaccine outweigh the risks associated with it. We want to keep as many people free from COVID and out of the hospital as possible, and the J&J vaccine will help us get through this pandemic. I encourage people to get whatever vaccine is available to them. If you have questions or concerns, consult a provider to help answer questions you have.”