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Johnson County Jail halts vaccinations after US recommends 'pause' for J&J doses

The jail began offering vaccinations to inmates and staff on Monday after the jail locked down Sunday due to eight inmates testing positive for COVID-19.
Credit: WTHR

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — The Johnson County Jail stopped offering the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to inmates and staff on Tuesday after the U.S. recommended a “pause” of the single-shot vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. 

The jail went into lockdown Sunday when eight inmates tested positive for COVID-19. Inmates were offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Monday and only 58 out of 340 inmates volunteered to get it. 

Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess said they were planning to offer the vaccine to any new inmates coming into the jail. However, on Tuesday federal officials recommended a "pause" on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to allow time to investigate "extremely rare" blot clots.

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When the news came out, the jail was scheduled to vaccinate a staff member, but Burgess said the jail stopped vaccinations before they even started Tuesday morning.

Now the jail is in a holding pattern for administering any more vaccines should an inmate change their mind or a new inmate come into the jail and want to be vaccinated. 

Burgess said they're waiting to see what happens with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They're also waiting to hear from the state on how they want to handle vaccinations if the jail receives the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Both require two shots, which can get tricky if the inmate is transferred or released after getting the first shot.