The Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration are calling for a temporary suspension in vaccinations using the Johnson & Johnson one-dose formula after a small number of women developed blood clots within one to two weeks of receiving their dose.
Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, announced that New York State is following that guidance but also announced that “All appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines today at New York State mass vaccination sites will be honored with the Pfizer vaccine.”
Those scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine at other sites, including local pharmacies, will most likely have to seek an alternative elsewhere or wait until the federal health agencies have completed their review.
The cause of the suspension are six cases of “rare and severe” blood clots, all of which occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48 within six to 13 days of receiving the vaccine. To put it in perspective, that is out of 6.8 million doses of J&J delivered to date.
“CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance,” according to a statement by CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat and FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks.
“FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.”
Helpful information locally, care of the Village of Tarrytown:
At the recommendation of federal health agencies, Walgreens has put a pause on appointments to receive the Johnson and Johnson and vaccine. They are keeping the appointment list should the FDA and the CDC alter their current recommendation.
We anticipate others may also put the J&J vaccine on pause.
For more on federal health guidance on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine:
Appointments to receive the first dose of the Moderna vaccine are still available at Westchester Community College.
You can also get appointments through NYS – https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
Westchester County has provided further helpful guidance:
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IF I ALREADY RECEIVED THE JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE
There is no cause for alarm. This is a safety measure out of an abundance of caution. Be aware of any unusual symptoms, just as you should after any vaccine or new medication.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE AN APPOINTMENT FOR THE JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE
There is no cause for alarm. Keep your appointment unless you are contacted to reschedule. The other two Covid-19 vaccines are still approved. When possible the vaccine provider will substitute with them or reschedule your appointment.
WHAT IF I RECEIVED OR HAVE AN APPOINTMENT FOR ONE OF THE OTHER VACCINES
There is no cause for alarm. Keep your appointment unless you are contacted to reschedule. The other two Covid-19 vaccines are still approved.
WHAT IF I THINK I HAVE A REACTION TO A COVID-19 VACCINE – JOHNSON & JOHNSON OR OTHER
For non-critical illness or discomfort, discuss your symptoms with your health care provider. Mention the date you were vaccinated and the brand if you know it. Be sure to list all symptoms you are having. If you believe you are having serious symptoms, seek immediate medical care, whether or not you think they might be related to the vaccine.
Federal health authorities monitor reports of all symptoms and illnesses that occur after vaccination whether caused by the vaccine or not, or if the cause is uncertain. You or your provider can report the event online at https://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/index.jsp If you need further assistance, please email info@VAERS.org or call 1-800-822-7967.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
We will suspend any use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until federal authorities announce its use can resume. We are closely monitoring new information as it becomes available. The CDC has scheduled a meeting of its expert advisory committee Wednesday, April 14.