PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Department of Health announced Tuesday that it is pausing the administration of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines as federal authorities investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots in people who received the shot.
No Johnson & Johnson appointments had been scheduled for release Tuesday, and the department is directing vaccination sites that had made J&J vaccination appointments available to not administer those doses, the state agency said in a statement.
The department has received no reports that indicate the J&J vaccine represents a health or safety concern.
The agency will share more information soon with people who have already made appointments for the J&J vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.
More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER REOPENING
The Providence Performing Arts Center, which shut down last spring at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, plans a full slate of shows this fall with new measures in place to ensure the health and safety of patrons.
“Certainly, we’re going to enact protocols that when people come here to see a show, they’re going to have peace of mind and realize that what’s being done will be done well,” PPAC President and CEO J.L. Singleton said at a news conference Tuesday.
Singleton said they plan to install the best available air filtration system, and both PPAC and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium have entered into an accreditation program for cleaning and COVID-19 protocols.
The 2021-2022 season starts Oct. 9 with “Pretty Woman: The Musical.”
SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF
About $20 million in federal coronavirus relief funds are being made available to small businesses in Rhode Island affected by the pandemic, Gov. Daniel McKee said.
The first round of applications for the $5,000 grants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Thursday. The deadline is April 30.
“We know that rebuilding Rhode Island’s economy will depend on rebuilding our small business economy,” the Democrat said. “Rhode Island small businesses have worked hard to keep their doors open, their customers safe and their workers employed throughout this pandemic. They need our support as we continue the fight against COVID-19 and ramp up vaccination efforts."
To be eligible, businesses must be a for-profit business based in Rhode Island, have less than $1 million in gross receipts in the 2020 tax year, and have received less than $25,000 in state COVID-19-related financial assistance to date.
The grants can be used to help cover employee pay, operational expenses incurred to enable the business to remain open, or costs associated with the reopening of a business that was previously shut down due to the pandemic.