States are now rushing to replace existing appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration has recommended pausing it.
Over two dozen states are halting vaccinations with J&J’s coronavirus vaccine after six women in the U.S. had developed a rare blood clotting disorder.
A top health official in New York has already said that the appointments scheduled for J&J’s vaccine on Tuesday would use Pfizer’s version instead.
New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said the state will “immediately” stop administering the single-dose J&J inoculation, and will be using Pfizer’s two-shot vaccine in its place for already scheduled appointments.
At least 25 other states, along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, said they are taking J&J’s vaccine doses out of their distribution plans.
New Jersey’s Department of Health said that all vaccination sites in the state “have been told to cancel or put on hold appointments for the J&J vaccine until further notice.”
Virginia “will cease all Johnson & Johnson vaccines” while the FDA investigates the “extremely rare possible side effect,” said the state’s vaccination coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula.
Connecticut’s Department of Public Health recommended to stop using the J&J’s vaccine “for the time being” while Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health notified all vaccine providers in the state to stop administering the J&J vaccine, “effective immediately.”
The other states are Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
States have said the pause is out of an abundance of caution as nearly 7 million doses of J&J’s vaccine had been injected into people and only six had experienced the blood clotting cases. All six reported cases occurred in women ages 18 to 48, whose symptoms developed within two weeks after they received the shot.
J&J said that “no clear causal relationship” has been identified between the rare type of blood clots and the vaccine. The company is working closely with regulators to assess the data.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said Tuesday that she expected the pause to last only for a matter of days.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC has also reassured that those who received the J&J vaccine more than a month ago are at very low risk for developing the blood clots.
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