The Philadelphia Health Department has notified all providers in the city to continue the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
The announcement, which was made on Monday, reversed the pause on the rollout of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following cases of potentially dangerous blood clots in six women under 50. The CDC will assess these clot risk cases with a fact sheet for potential symptoms, WHYY reported. With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved again, Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania plan to focus on reaching vulnerable populations who have not yet been vaccinated.
The city wrote in a news release that the Philadelphia Health Department continues to recommend that city residents get vaccinated with whichever vaccine is available.
Pennsylvania is currently 10th in the country in vaccine distribution progress, with 47% of eligible people vaccinated. As vaccination rates continue to increase, city officials will focus on expanding the vaccine rollout to hard-to-reach communities, WHYY reported.
In a news conference on Monday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said the state will attempt to reach people at high risk who cannot get the vaccine themselves because of age, disability, or illness, WHYY reported.
“When we first started this, the problem was supply, there just wasn’t enough," Wolf said at the news conference. "Now we are at the point where supply is coming close. We’re not there yet, but it’s close to demand and we’re actually starting to see some open appointments."
Wolf announced that the Departments of Health, Aging, and Human Services will partner with housing associations and nursing associations to get more people COVID-19 vaccines.
Robert Torres, head of the Department of Aging, told WHYY that officials would have to get creative about vaccine distribution by giving doses to EMTs and home care nurses. He added that the agency has launched a hotline for older people struggling to get the vaccine.
“We’re committed to reaching each and every senior who wants a vaccine," Torres told WHYY.