By Kate King 

Thousands of Covid-19 vaccination appointments had to be rescheduled across the tri-state region Tuesday after governors said they would pause giving Johnson & Johnson's vaccine while U.S. health officials investigate rare but serious blood clots.

Health officials from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said they would work to reschedule all pending Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments as quickly as possible with doses from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. Nationwide, six women who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine developed blood clots out of more than 6.8 million doses administered, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

About 4,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccination appointments will be rescheduled in New York City Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. The pause also means the city's program for vaccinating homebound residents, which uses the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, will be suspended, he said.

Mr. de Blasio, who himself received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last month, said more than 230,000 of the company's vaccine doses had been administered without blood clots. He credited the vaccine with helping battle coronavirus in the city, where hospital admissions and the case positivity rate are falling. In total, nearly 5.2 million doses have been administered citywide.

"We're starting to make some real progress, and Johnson & Johnson has been a part of that," the mayor said. "We believe in the effectiveness of this vaccine, but obviously we take seriously any warning and it has to be seriously investigated."

The State University of New York's chancellor told students set to receive Johnson & Johnson vaccines that they would need to reschedule their appointments. The disruption came one day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an initial allocation of 21,000 vaccines for SUNY students, all Johnson & Johnson doses, as well as 14,000 vaccines for private colleges in the state.

Mr. Cuomo's office didn't respond to questions Tuesday about how many Johnson & Johnson vaccinations have been given statewide and how many would need to be rescheduled because of the pause. In total, more than 12 million vaccine doses of all brands have been administered since December and nearly a quarter of the state's population is fully vaccinated, his office said Monday.

More than 100,000 Connecticut residents have received Johnson & Johnson vaccines without serious complications, the state Department of Health said Tuesday. Gov. Ned Lamont said the pause could affect 21,000 Johnson & Johnson doses anticipated for this week, but he doesn't expect it to significantly delay the state's overall vaccination efforts.

Connecticut expects to receive a 7% to 8% increase in Pfizer and Moderna vaccine deliveries next week from the federal government, and appointments are currently available for scheduling, according to the governor. Mr. Lamont said he was worried that pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccinations could exacerbate vaccine hesitancy among residents.

"I'm less concerned about supply and becoming more concerned about demand," he said. "It's a million times safer getting vaccinated than pausing and waiting. Get vaccinated."

New Jersey's Department of Health told all vaccination sites to suspend Johnson & Johnson appointments until further notice. Gov. Phil Murphy said at a bill signing Tuesday that the state has administered about 235,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines with no reported adverse effects.

A health department spokeswoman said she didn't know how many appointments had to be rescheduled statewide due to the pause, since vaccination sites are responsible for their own scheduling.

Write to Kate King at Kate.King@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 13, 2021 15:32 ET (19:32 GMT)

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