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NYS to pause use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Those scheduled to get a Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine will receive a Pfizer vaccine at state clinics instead.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York State will temporarily pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on the recommendation from the CDC and FDA.

Those agencies are investigating six reported cases of a rare and severe blood clot potentially linked to the vaccine out of more than 6.8 million who have gotten the shot.

State leaders say those who have appointments to get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine should not cancel their appointments - they will receive a Pfizer vaccine instead.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker issued this statement regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:

"Today the CDC and FDA issued a statement recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution. 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. All appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines today at New York State mass vaccination sites will be honored with the Pfizer vaccine.  

"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.' 

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

Both Erie County and Niagara County health officials say their scheduled COVID-19 vaccine clinics are not affected by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause because their clinics are with Moderna vaccines. 

Dr. Nancy Nielsen, who leads the distribution planning for the vaccine in WNY, says most providers in our region did not get Johnson & Johnson vaccine to administer this week, mainly due to the mix up at the a plant which spoiled 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In response to recommendations to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a spokesperson for CVS Pharmacy tells 2 On Your Side, "We are immediately implementing a pause in the use of the Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine per the recommendation from federal health agencies." 

Wegmans has also canceled all of their Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments, including those scheduled for Tuesday's clinic at the Wegmans Conference Center.