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South Carolina health officials say they are heeding advisories from the federal Centers for Disease Control and halting distribution of the vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson over concerns about blood clotting in a small number of individuals who received the vaccine.

“Our priority is protecting the health and safety of the public,” Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said in a press release. “This pause is evidence of very close safety monitoring as part of the strict quality assurance that is in place to ensure patient safety.”

Adverse effects of the J&J vaccine appear to be rare, according to a statement from the CDC and the federal Food and Drug Administration. Severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain and shortness of breath are among concerning side effects.

Along with the pause, DHEC said it has also contacted providers with word of the new development. Health officials are currently rescheduling and changing planned vaccine types to reflect the decision.

“We recognize that this will impact our current supply of vaccines across the state and are awaiting to hear more information from the federal government,” DHEC officials said in a press release.

The Palmetto State has been receiving small amounts of the J&J vaccine from the federal government, like most states, about 7,000 doses per week according to DHEC. That allocation is small compared to the more than 40,000 doses each of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines received by the state each week.

“The pause on Janssen vaccine is less of an impact in our state than we would experience if a pause occurred on Pfizer or Moderna vaccines,” DHEC officials said in a press release. “Millions of people in the United States have received doses of vaccines with very little side effects.”

DHEC officials are continuing to urge South Carolina residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect themselves and their community.

If you experience any of the previously listed side effects within three weeks after vaccination, contact your health care provider.

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