Florida suspending Johnson & Johnson vaccine shots until further notice, DeSantis says

After federal health officials recommending putting the pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the state will follow suit.

The Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday they are making the recommendation as a precaution as agencies investigate six cases of a rare type of blood clotting after six people received the single-dose vaccine in the U.S.

The clots were reported in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts.

On Tuesday, DeSantis said the state would follow the FDA and CDC recommendation to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. However, he said he doesn't think people should be worried if they received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and haven't had any effects.

"We have not seen any significant effects with J&J here in Florida," he said. "I got J&J. I think my arm was sore for 45 minutes and that was that."

DeSantis said he hopes the pause is just a "speed bump."

"They've found six," he said. "It's a very small number. Balance that against, how many people are alive today because they had the J&J vaccine? There's no question that it's saved lives already."

Publix, which has been administering both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines, says they will also halt J&J for now.

"In following the guidance set forth by the FDA, we have suspended our program for administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," Publix said in a tweet.

There is no official word yet on how the recommendation will impact the FEMA vaccination site at the Tampa Greyhound Track site. However, in Jacksonville, city officials said, "Following the recommendation from the CDC for a pause in distribution of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines," and will continue administering second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

MORE: US recommends ‘pause’ on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate rare clotting reports

The FEMA vaccination site at the Tampa Greyhound Track has pulled the Johnson & Johnson vaccines in accordance with guidance from state and federal partners.

Carole Covey, the incident commander with the Florida Department of Emergency Management, says the site will still offer the second dose of Pfizer vaccines for those who previously got the first dose at the track. The site will continue to administer 2,000 Pfizer doses a day.

"Here’s the deal, six cases of blood clots…and by the way, seven million doses were given to people," said Dr. Mike Cirigliano of the FOX medical team. "The FDA and CDC just now basically are saying, 'Look we are going to pause until we sort this out…just to make sure they are not related to each other."

Dr. Cirigliano said if a patient notices any differences, such as a swollen leg or a headache, he recommends checking in with their local healthcare provider.

"The bottom line is we don’t know yet," he said. "We have to study it. One of my favorite phrases is ‘an abundance of caution.’"

Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said in a statement that President Joe Biden’s administration did not anticipate the pause would have a "significant impact" on ongoing vaccine plans. He said the administration was receiving enough doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to ensure enough supply to maintain the current national pace of 3 million shots a day.

DeSantis echoed that, telling reporters that he expected Florida would continue to have a "robust" supply of doses. While the state received 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, he said that number had already been scheduled to be reduced because of production issues.

More than 7.29 million people in Florida have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the latest available data.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.