Gov. Phil Murphy said today that the halt to administering Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine doses will not have any effect on next week’s opening of vaccine eligibility to all New Jerseyans age 16 and older.
Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement recommending a pause in the use of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine after six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine.
“This pause is a reflection of how seriously the federal government is taking the safety of vaccines,” Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. “All vaccine sites in New Jersey have taken J&J vaccine doses out of inventory and will not use them until further federal guidance is provided.”
Nearly 7 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, with 244,000 doses administered in New Jersey.
Persichilli said that the state will not be receiving J&J doses until further notice, and that it is not yet known if the state will receive additional increases of Pfizer and Moderna doses beyond what is already expected.
“Even with this pause, our goal of vaccinating 4.7 million adult New Jerseyans by the end of June remains not only in place, but is entirely achievable,” Murphy said.
As of today, doses of J&J’s vaccine have accounted for only 4% of the more than 5.6 million total vaccine doses administered in New Jersey.
“There have not been any reported adverse effects with the J&J vaccine in New Jersey, nor have there been from either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines,” Murphy said. “This pause also has no effect on Monday’s opening of vaccine eligibility to all New Jerseyans age 16 and older.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is meeting today to review data and to determine what to do next with the J&J vaccine.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Eddy Bresnitz said that he expects the ACIP to provide some type of further guidance today, adding, “The public is expecting guidance. There is the pressure of the continuing pandemic with a lot of cases around the country. People want to know if we can put forward the vaccine even though we have these rare events, or do we go ahead and just use [the Pfizer and Moderna] vaccines that we currently have. That is a big decision that needs to be made, but it needs to be made quickly.”
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