New Yorkers scheduled for J&J vaccine can keep appointments

Most New Yorkers scheduled to receive a Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine at city-run sites will keep the same appointment and receive a Pfizer or Moderna jab instead, officials said Wednesday, a day after the one-dose inoculation was paused.

City health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi made the announcement during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily press briefing.

Chokshi said Tuesday that 4,000 people scheduled to receive the J&J shot that day would be rescheduled — but clarified Wednesday “the vast majority of New Yorkers who booked appointments for the J&J vaccine will keep the same appointment and receive Pfizer or Moderna instead.”

Officials reiterated that the suspension of the J&J immunization will halt the city’s home-vaccination campaign targeting the elderly and handicapped — which relied on the single-dose shot — until at least Sunday.

Asked if it could last even longer, de Blasio said it was possible that the city could instead switch to one of the two-dose shots, but that the one-dose J&J inoculation was better suited to the program. Chokshi added that he expected guidance from the feds by the end of the week.

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Vials of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
Vials of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutters

The nationwide suspension was recommended by the feds after six women who received the shot developed blood clots, including one who died.

Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed in a CBS News interview that scientists “absolutely” think the clots could be a hormonal reaction — and investigators are examining whether the response is tied to birth control.

But Chokshi noted that even if they are connected, people who got the J&J shot are “extremely unlikely” to suffer adverse consequences from it.

“We may have more to fear from fear itself,” he added, paraphrasing a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural address.

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Patients wait in the observation area after being inoculated with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccination site inside the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center
Patients wait in the observation area after being inoculated with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccination site inside the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center.
AP

“The decision to pause means our government is following the science and making safety the utmost priority, a position we strongly agree with,” the health official said.

De Blasio called the J&J suspension a “curveball” in the city’s vaccination process.

“Our job is to hit that out of the park anyway,” Hizzoner said. “To just keep going, keep moving forward. New Yorkers keep doing that no matter what.”

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