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NY will pause use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following federal recommendation


New York state will halt use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the federal government, Tuesday morning, recommended a temporary pause of the product due to concerns about a rare side-effect that caused blood clots in a handful of recipients.

Appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at state-run sites will still be honored but those individuals will instead receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement that he was in contact with the federal government over next steps as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine goes through a new review to analyze the cases of blood clots.

“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.

"I am in constant contact with the federal government and we will update New Yorkers as more information becomes available," he said.

Doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sent to New York had already dropped significantly this week due to supply issues, so the state won’t have a lot of ground to make up in the immediate days.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had said last week that the decline in doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — a nearly 90% drop — wouldn’t affect the state’s vaccine rollout. New York is currently vaccinating more than one million individuals each week.

Onondaga County is also pausing the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Anyone with an appointment to receive the vaccine will be offered a Pfizer dose as well. Oneida County will offer the Moderna vaccine to those who had appointments for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

A number of colleges and universities had been using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to vaccinate students. SUNY Oswego had a clinic scheduled for Tuesday with 1,500 doses of the single-dose vaccine. That clinic was canceled after the FDA and CDC announced its recommendation.