Following pause of J &J vaccine administration, Governor says enough Moderna, Pfizer to keep schedule


FILE – This Saturday, March 6, 2021 file photo shows vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution in east Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been halted in New York State. This comes as the CDC and FDA have recommended it be paused due to rare cases of blood clots.

The J & J vaccine has been perhaps the most convenient because it only requires one shot. But, following the federal government’s lead New York is pausing its use. “We do have enough Pfizer and we do have enough Moderna vaccination to keep our schedule and to keep those numbers happening,” the Governor said during an event today.

In a statement Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said, “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.”

Nationwide the CDC says 6.8 million J&J shots have been administered. Ben Wakana with the White House COVID-19 Response Team tweeted the J&J vaccine accounts for less than five percent of shots in arms, and that the pause is out of an abundance of caution. 

United University Professions President Fred Kowal says the pause makes sense. But, Kowal says it’s important that vaccination efforts continue aggressively especially on campuses. “Hopefully, the problem will be detected quickly, and then the J&J vaccine can be used because, yes, it’s the most convenient for students who may be leaving campus within the next few weeks and won’t be around for that second shot,” he said.

Commissioner Zucker says anyone who has received the J&J vaccine and develops severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of getting the shot should contact their doctor. 

The Governor says once the federal government completes its review of the J&J vaccine the state plans to resume using it. 

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