NJ Top News 4/14 – You Were Scheduled for J&J Vax. Now What?
New Jersey and other states are racing to reschedule Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments.
As federal health agencies investigate a possible link between the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson and blot clot complications, New Jersey has stopped using the vaccine.
New Jersey and U.S. health officials stressed the risk of complications remains very small. Federal officials said Tuesday they expect the pause in using the J&J vaccine to only last a "matter of days" while they review data. Six women developed severe blood clots after receiving the J&J vaccine. One woman died and another remains critical, although the link to the vaccine has not been conclusively made. Once the most desirable of available vaccines due to it's one-shot regimen, now few will likely want to get it.
What happens if you were scheduled to receive the J&J single dose? State health officials have either canceled or put those appointments on hold. However, it is unlikely you will have to go through the process of scheduling a new appointment.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the Department of Health "will work with all vaccination sites to make arrangements for the administration of an alternative 2-dose vaccine." At the same time, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and state medical experts downplayed the risks to anyone who has already received the J&J vaccine.
Medical experts say signs of complications from the J&J vaccine will likely be different than the typical flu-like symptoms and could include severe headache and shortness of breath.
Many municipalities and counties in New Jersey were using their allocation of the J&J vaccine to reach homebound residents. Because it was a single dose vaccine and could be more easily stored and transported than the Pfizer of Moderna vaccine, it was ideal for use amidst hard to reach segments of the community.
Because many vaccination sites only had a small amount of the J&J vaccine to begin with, little impact to their operations are expected. It will, however, vary from site to site.
Somerset County has already announced they would honor all appointments for the J&J shot by swapping in one of the other vaccines. By contrast, Ocean County has announced anyone scheduled to get the J&J vaccine will have their appointments on hold until further notice. Princeton has also canceled their vaccination clinic until further notice.
You can get more specific information about how vaccination centers around the state are handling the situation here.
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