NY pauses use of J&J vaccine use after FDA recommendation


(WIVB) — The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines while they investigate very rare instances of severe side effects.

The FDA says that as of Monday, 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the United States. A rare but severe type of blood clot was reported to be found in six people who received the vaccine, or 0.00008824%.

“Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” the FDA wrote on Twitter. They went onto say that treating this kind of blood clot is different than typical treatment.

Both Erie County and New York State have announced they will pause administering the J&J vaccine, and so has Wegmans. Appointments for Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines will continue.

Anyone who received J&J vaccine and develops symptoms of severe headache, stomach or abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination should contact their health care provider, the county said in a press release.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said the state is pausing use of the vaccine of an abundance of caution.

“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.”

NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker

Going forward, the CDC is planning to have an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting on Wednesday to review these cases are figure how significant they may be. The FDA says it “will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the two county vaccine clinics scheduled for Tuesday won’t be affected by this, since the vaccine being used at the clinics was made by Moderna.

The FDA held a news conference at 10 a.m. You can watch it here.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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