‘I could totally be wrong on this’: Utah Governor disagrees with pause on J&J vaccine

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Utah (ABC4) – Thursday during Utah Governor Spencer Cox’s monthly press conference, he discussed multiple topics, including the state’s current efforts in the fight against COVID-19. 

It has been 101 days since Gov. Cox has been sworn into office as Utah Governor. 

Utahns, living in “an earthquake country,” participated in the Great Utah ShakeOut during Gov. Cox’s press conference. It’s a day each year Utahns are encouraged to participate in drills to prepare us for possible earthquakes.

Gov. Cox says preparedness works, and this year is no different.

During Thursday’s conference, Gov. Cox discussed vaccine wait times, stateside vaccine equity, updated vaccine distribution efforts and the recent pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Updated wait time of getting vaccinated after having the virus:

Gov. Cox announced the wait time between the time Utahns have contracted the virus and when they can receive their vaccine has changed. 

Gov. Cox says the state is no longer discouraging individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days to wait to get their COVID-19 vaccines. He says the state has enough supply of the vaccines now to allow for this change. 

The verbiage which outlined this recommendation will be removed from the Governor’s Vaccine Distribution Plan Executive Order starting today, April 15, Gov. Cox adds. 

He says individuals should wait to get vaccinated until they don’t have symptoms and have been released from isolation. If you are a person who has experienced long-term symptoms from COVID-19, it is advised you talk to your doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Statewide vaccine equity:

When it comes to vaccine equity, Gov. Cox says the state is making significant progress in how vaccines are reaching underserved communities. Since March, Gov. Cox says there has been tremendous growth in vaccinations in multicultural communities.

A month ago, 6,900 Asian adults had received at least one dose. Now the state is up to 31,500. 18,700 Hispanic Utahns had received at least one dose, now 85,800 have been vaccinated. 2,400 Black adults had received at least one dose. Now we’re up to 8,400.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution:

As of Thursday, 1,808,824 COVID-29 doses have been administered statewide. This is a daily increase of 40,578 doses since Wednesday, Gov. Cox shares. This is a weekly increase of 204,969 doses, the state’s biggest week yet.

Gov. Cox says when he was sworn into office on Jan. 4, there were only 305 Utahns who were fully vaccinated. 101 days later and that that number is 741,819. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause:

On Tuesday, the FDA and CDC called for a pause on the administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in order to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

In total, over 8.6 million doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. In Utah, nearly 77,000 Johnson & Johnson doses have been administered with no reports of blood clots among these patients.

Gov. Cox says the state will continue to follow the direction of the CDC. He says the state will continue using the vaccines we do have and administer them as quickly as possible. 

He says he hopes the pause ends quickly. 

When asked if he disagrees with the pause of the Johnson & Johnson pause Gov. Cox responded “Yes, I do,” saying he worries about the vaccine hesitancy it may cause for Utahns deciding whether or not to be vaccinated. “I could totally be wrong on this,” Gov. Cox later adds.

Gov. Cox says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not an inferior vaccine, but that the pause is a little frustrating because he does not want the state’s vaccine distribution to slow down.

There will not be any more Johnson & Johnson vaccines sent into the state of Utah until the pause is lifted. 

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