State to follow recommendation to ‘pause’ J&J vaccinations

State to follow recommendation to ‘pause’ J&J vaccinations
New York state coronavirus outbreak (Source: MGN)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - New York state is following the guidance from federal health officials to “pause” use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as they investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are recommending a pause in administering the vaccine, which is the only single-dose vaccine approved in the U.S.

“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,” state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement Tuesday morning.

He said people who were scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine at state-run vaccination sites will instead receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. That vaccine requires a second dose about three weeks after the first.

The State University of New York is also scrambling to find alternatives to the J&J vaccine, which it began administering to students last week.

“We urge all students with appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to contact their campus or vaccination site because alternatives have already been found in some instances,” SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said.

“While we must not slow down the process of protecting our students from the COVID-19 virus, we must also do all we can to ensure their safety and health every step of the way,” he said. “We will keep our campus communities informed as more information becomes available.”

The CDC and FDA say that blood clotting in patients who receive the J&J vaccine “appear to be extremely rare.”

The agencies are recommending that people who have received that vaccine should contact their health care provider if they develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks of being vaccinated.

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