Monroe County suspends use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after CDC, FDA recommendation

WHEC and AP
Updated: April 13, 2021 12:15 PM
Created: April 13, 2021 07:25 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza announced Tuesday the county is suspending its use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommended a “pause” in the administration of the single-dose vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

All appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines at New York State mass vaccination sites Tuesday will be honored with the Pfizer vaccine, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.

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.

"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," Zucker said. "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."

CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to discuss the cases and the FDA has also launched an investigation of the cases.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said in a joint statement.

LOCAL CLINICS

In New York, the state just announced Monday it'd begin directly distributing J&J's COVID-19 vaccine to colleges and universities across the state. This includes a clinic just held at SUNY Geneseo Monday as part of SUNY's effort to give the J&J to students.

SUNY Brockport was scheduled to administer J&J's vaccine at a clinic Tuesday, April 13 and Wednesday, April 14. SUNY Brockport President Dr. Heidi Macpherson issued the following statement.

"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."

Nazareth College also postponed its clinics scheduled for Tuesday, April 13 and Wednesday, April 14. 

"Due to this recommendation and out of an abundance of caution, the Nazareth on-campus vaccine clinics scheduled for students today from noon to 7 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. are postponed until further notice," Nazareth's Health and Counseling Director Susan Quinn said. "Given the data and the extremely low incidence rate, there is no reason to panic if you've received the J&J vaccine. The data demonstrates that the benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh the risks." 

Tops Markets announced it would also be pausing its appointments.

JOHNSON AND JOHNSON RESPONDS

Johnson and Johnson issued a statement in response to the news, saying in part:

"We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public."

The full statement can be found here.
 


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