New Jersey

J&J Pause Shouldn't Keep NJ From 4.7M Vaccinated Goal, Gov. Murphy Says

Gov. Phil Murphy says the pause in the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine shouldn't stop the state from vaccinating 4.7 million people by the end of June.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state's goal of getting 4.7 million people in New Jersey vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of June remains achievable, despite the state stopping giving doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

"As of today, doses of J&J have accounted for only 4% of the more than 5.6 million total vaccine doses administered in New Jersey," Murphy said at a Wednesday news conference.

The first-term Democrat said that the state will still open vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older on Monday, as planned.

New Jersey is following federal guidance by putting Johnson & Johnson vaccines on hold, the state's top health official said.

The FDA and CDC pausing use of the J& Janssen vaccine sends a signal to doctors across the nation to look out for the rare blood clots that occurred in 6 women out of millions of patients who received this brand of vaccine, and come up with guidance for how to treat those clots, NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres explains.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli on Tuesday said all of the state's vaccination sites — about 700 total, officials have said — would cancel or put appointments for the J&J vaccine on hold.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday they were investigating unusual clots that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48; there was one death, and all cases remained under investigation.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

As of Wednesday, New Jersey had received no reports of blood clotting issues with J&J vaccines administered in the state, Persichilli said. Around 244,000 doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in New Jersey.

To date, the state has administered more than 5.6 million vaccine doses, with nearly 2.3 million people fully vaccinated. That means the state is about halfway to its 4.7 million adults vaccinated by the end of June goal.

The pause in New Jersey came just as the supply of J&J vaccines ebbed from more than 130,000 last week to 15,000 this week. Next week, just 5,000 doses of the single-shot vaccine were expected, Persichilli said.

Along with the New Jersey sites, federally run mass vaccination sites have paused the use of the J&J shot.

The other two authorized vaccines, from Moderna and Pfizer, make up the vast share of COVID-19 shots administered in the U.S. and are not affected by the pause.

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