Out of an abundance of caution and following the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the New Jersey Department of Health this morning paused the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine across all vaccination sites in the state.
The CDC and the FDA are reviewing the data involving six reported cases—among nearly 7 million doses administered in the U.S.—in women between the ages of 18 and 48 who received the J&J vaccine. Symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets. Both the CDC and FDA have said that these adverse events are extremely rare. According to the FDA and CDC, individuals who have received the vaccine and develop abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath, severe headache or other unusual symptoms within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.
All New Jersey vaccination sites have been told to cancel or put on hold appointments for the J&J vaccine until further notice. For individuals scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine, the Department will work with all vaccination sites to make arrangements for the administration of an alternative two-dose vaccine. We will work with all sites, as needed, to reschedule vaccination appointments.
The Department will await further guidance from the federal government. The federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss these adverse events and make recommendations to the CDC on how to proceed.