Those who received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine should get Moderna or Pfizer booster shots: AZDHS

Officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services say Arizonans who were vaccinated against COVID-19 with Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine should get a booster shot with either Moderna or Pfizer's offerings.

The statement, which was released on AZDHS' website on Dec. 20, came days after the CDC released a statement that expressed a "clinical preference for individuals to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine over Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine."

Related: Pfizer, Moderna vaccines recommended over J&J shot, CDC panel says

"The CDC notes that this preference for the two available mRNA vaccines is made out of an abundance of caution due to extremely rare side effects from the J&J vaccine," read a portion of the statement released by AZDHS officials.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine can cause rare but serious blood clots. The strange clotting problem has caused nine confirmed deaths after J&J vaccinations, while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines don't come with that risk and also appear more effective, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Overall, the government has confirmed 54 clot cases— 37 in women and 17 in men, and nine deaths that included two men, the CDC's Dr. Isaac See said Thursday. He said two additional deaths are suspected.

"If you received J&J, the CDC has already recommended getting a booster two months or more after your dose. This week’s statement encourages patients to get boosted with an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer)," read a portion of the statement.

Officials with AZDHS noted that approximately 321,000 people in Arizona have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine initially welcomed

Until now the U.S. has treated all three COVID-19 vaccines available to Americans as an equal choice, since large studies found they all offered strong protection and early supplies were limited. J&J's vaccine initially was welcomed as a single-dose option that could be especially important for hard-to-reach groups like homeless people who might not get the needed second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna options.

But the CDC's advisers said it was time to recognize a lot has changed since vaccines began rolling out a year ago. More than 200 million Americans are considered fully vaccinated, including about 16 million who got the J&J shot.

Several countries, including Canada, already have policies that give preference to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

MORE: Find COVID-19 vaccine locations in your area

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)