New York state pauses use of J&J vaccine after blood clot report, sites to administer Pfizer instead

New York State

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker announced the state is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine statewide, immediately.

The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow.

In a statement Tuesday morning, Dr. Howard Zucker said:

“Today the CDC and FDA issued a statement recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution. New York State will follow the CDC and FDA recommendation and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine statewide immediately today while these health and safety agencies evaluate next steps. All appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines today at New York State mass vaccination sites will be honored with the Pfizer vaccine.

“As the CDC and FDA have said, any adverse events related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ‘appear to be extremely rare’ and, ‘People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.’

“I am in constant contact with the federal government and we will update New Yorkers as more information becomes available.”

SUNY Brockport and St. John Fisher College announced a similar pause on their vaccination clinics Tuesday morning.

A message Tuesday from SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson:

Today we learned that the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control have called for an immediate pause in the use of Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, which SUNY Brockport was planning to distribute at our vaccination clinic scheduled for today and tomorrow.

Out of an abundance of caution and in coordination with the New York State Department of Health, SUNY has paused the distribution of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as we await further review from the FDA, CDC and DOH. 

We apologize to those who were looking forward to being vaccinated today. More information about other potential vaccination opportunities, on or off campus, will be shared when they become available.

St. John Fisher College made a similar announcement Tuesday morning on the university’s Instagram page:

The College has just learned that out of an abundance of caution the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to some reports of blood clotting. Therefore, our student vaccine clinic has been cancelled.

If you had an appointment scheduled, you will receive a cancellation email. Should we have an opportunity to obtain the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for an on-campus clinic, we will share that information with you.

Testing will proceed as scheduled.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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