By Matthew Zylstra / [email protected]

In a statement released Thursday, Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, responded to an announcement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it was changing the criteria for those eligible to receive the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID- 19 vaccine due to concerns about blood clots.

According to the FDA’s announcement last Thursday, the J&J vaccine will be limited to “individuals 18 years of age and older for whom other licensed or approved COVID-19 vaccines are not available or clinically appropriate, and to individuals 18 years of age and older. plus who to choose to receive the (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine as they would not otherwise receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

In his statement, Rep. Walsh said, “The problem of blood clots is not new. Local health care providers and agencies began reporting side effects last year related to the J&J vaccine.

Walsh then went on to urge Gov. Jay Inslee to remove vaccine requirements, stating that “COVID shots… don’t work for all workers in Washington. Science and data recognize it. The governor must recognize it too.

“The FDA findings contradict a central assumption the Governor made in his Emergency Proclamation 21-14.1: that all COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective… The Governor can end this injustice by ending his proclamation 21-14.1 and related decrees. In 21-14.1, the governor mentions “our individual and collective duty” to do what is right for the people of Washington. He must honor that duty now by acknowledging current FDA science and data and ending actions that force local agencies to lay off essential workers, rather than inflicting greater hardship on the people of this state,” Walsh added.

The representative then called on the state legislature to call a special session if Governor Inslee refused to remove vaccine requirements.

Walsh concluded his statement by saying, “This is a great opportunity for the Legislative Assembly to work in a bipartisan effort for the people. If the governor does not fix the problems he has caused, we can and we must.

When asked by The Chronicle, a spokesperson for Inslee responded by referring to Walsh’s statement as “a fear campaign by a fringe politician whose pandemic rhetoric has never matched the facts.”

The spokesperson went on to say that the FDA’s decision would not affect the state’s vaccine mandate and that “people should choose which of these three vaccines is right for them.”

The response also contained examples of people who are still eligible for the J&J vaccine. The list provided named “those who have had a severe allergic reaction to an mRNA vaccine such as those from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna”, “those with personal concerns about mRNA vaccines who would remain unvaccinated without the J&J vaccine” and “those with limited access to Covid-19 mRNA vaccines” as among those still eligible to receive the J&J vaccine.