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NY to follow federal recommendation, pause J&J vaccinations

April 13, 2021 Karen Matthews, Associated Press
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New York state health officials will follow federal recommendations and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker announced Tuesday.

Zucker said all appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Tuesday at state-run mass vaccination sites would be honored with the Pfizer vaccine.

“I am in constant contact with the federal government, and we will update New Yorkers as more information becomes available,” Zucker said in a news release.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a virtual news briefing that the city would follow the federal recommendation and stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well.

De Blasio, who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine himself last month, said the pause in vaccinations was a setback for the city but added, “our effort continues strong and will continue today and every day until we beat this disease.”

City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said city-run sites have administered about 234,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with no reports of the type of blood clot that prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to recommend halting its use.

“We continue to monitor for that, of course, in coordination with our federal partners, but we have not seen that thus far,” Chokshi said.

The pause comes as the State University of New York has been rushing to vaccinate tens of thousands of students before the end of the semester next month.

SUNY said last week that 350,000 students were being urged to make appointments on 34 campuses. SUNY said it would use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because its one-dose protocol would ensure students would be fully vaccinated by the time they left campus.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Jim Malatras said SUNY was working with New York state to locate alternative COVID-19 vaccines.

“We urge all students with appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to contact their campus or vaccination site because alternatives have already been found in some instances,” he said in a statement.

Several colleges announced the cancellation of vaccination clinics planned for Tuesday.

“We apologize to those who were looking forward to being vaccinated today,” Heidi Macpherson, president of SUNY Brockport, said in a statement. “More information about other potential vaccination opportunities, on or off campus, will be shared when they become available.“

Officials at SUNY Oswego announced that a Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic scheduled for Tuesday would be canceled and advised students and employees to look into local options for getting the Moderna vaccine.

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