The Suffolk County Department of Health Services has paused dispensing of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at its vaccination dispensing locations, following state and federal recommendations while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review data about an extremely rare type of blood clot that has been reported in six people who received that vaccine in the United States.
As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving a rare and severe type of blood clot that was reported in six people after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.
Suffolk County officials are not aware of any cases occurring among the approximately 2,000 residents who have received this vaccine through the County Health Department thus far. Those residents who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care practitioners promptly.
“While this issue appears to be extremely rare, CDC and FDA are acting in a very cautious manner that underscores our commitment to vaccine safety,” said Dr. Gregson Pigott, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services. “We will be closely monitoring the federal review process and use that information to help guide our efforts here in Suffolk County in the days ahead.”
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents about 2% of the total supply of vaccines the Suffolk County Department of Health has received to date, so the pause is not expected to dramatically slow the pace of vaccinations dispensed by Suffolk County. As Suffolk County Department of Health Services does not maintain data on all vaccine providers in Suffolk County, other dispensers may have received and dispensed varying percentages of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the community.
Residents who currently have appointments to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should watch for a notification from their provider about canceling, postponing or rescheduling the appointment. If your appointment is cancelled, you can look for other vaccination appointments through the Vaccine Locator map, local pharmacies or your area.
CDC will convene a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on April 14 to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates the cases.
Meanwhile, until that process is complete, Suffolk County health officials will continue to dispense the allocations of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines that the county receives from New York State.