New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker today announced that New York State is temporarily pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines statewide following recommendations from federal health officials who are investigating reports of blood clots.
More than 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have so far been administered in the U.S. Rare but severe cases of blood clotting have reportedly occurred in six instances after individuals received the vaccine, according to a joint statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination, the statement says. “Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.”
CDC and FDA recommended the pause “out of an abundance of caution,” said Commissioner Zucker in announcing New York’s own pause on use of the vaccine. All appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines today at New York State mass vaccination sites will be honored with the Pfizer vaccine, Commissioner Zucker said.
“As the CDC and FDA have said, any adverse events related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ‘appear to be extremely rare,'” Commissioner Zucker noted, stressing that people who have received the vaccine should contact their health provider if they develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, in accordance with federal recommendations.
The CDC is convening a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices tomorrow to further review the reported adverse cases and assess their potential significance.
Further guidance is expected to be forthcoming. HCA will immediately report back to the membership with updates as needed.