April 13, 2021


MERCED COUNTY, CA—Due to extremely rare adverse effects that have been reported as a result of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, those doses are currently being paused at Merced County clinics, including the recently-opened OptumServe vaccination site in Atwater.

To date, more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the United States. The CDC and FDA are currently reviewing data involving six reported cases of blood clotting in individuals who received the vaccine. Read more here.

This rare side effect is associated with the J&J vaccine only and is not an issue with other available vaccines. The J&J vaccine is only being paused at this time out of an abundance of caution while officials investigate these issues and determine a best course of action moving forward.

While the J&J vaccine is on hold, various Merced County clinics will be canceled. Additional clinics will be scheduled once enough Pfizer/Moderna vaccine is secured. The recently-opened OptumServe vaccination site in Atwater, which was administering the J&J vaccine, will be closed until further notice. Anyone who was previously signed up for a now-canceled vaccination appointment will be notified via text message of the cancelation and encouraged to sign up for upcoming clinics.

Anyone who would like to receive vaccination moving forward is encouraged to schedule an appointment at

As a reminder, it is still a local and statewide mandate to wear a cloth face covering inside of, or in line to enter any indoor public space, or when unable to maintain six feet for social distancing. Merced County health officials strongly urge all residents to exercise the following safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol base when hand washing is not possible
  • Stay home and isolate, if you are feeling sick
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