Governors and state health advisers in the tri-state are green lighting the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine once again following a nearly two-week pause in inoculations while federal officials examined the single-dose shot's possible side effects.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his state would resume use of the J&J vaccine on Saturday, effective immediately.
"World-renowned public health experts from the federal government and our own independent state task force have reviewed data and reaffirmed that the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can resume," Cuomo said in a press release.
In New York City, officials said they were planning for a number of scenarios, depending on what guidance was made Friday by federal health advisers. As did the state, city officials said Saturday morning they too would resume immediate use of the J&J shot.
The one-dose shot has been a key asset in community-focused vaccinations and would resume operations for homebound New Yorkers, as well as mobile van programs and pop-up sites at houses of worship, the city's mayor announced.
Top city leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, received the J&J shot and reiterated their advise to take the one-dose shot if offered.
"I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and I trust it is safe and effective. If I had the chance to decide again, knowing what I know now, I would still choose to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," Choksi said in a statement.
Asked the same question at a separate media appearance Friday, Murphy and his health commissioner also said they could reimplement Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccines as early as Saturday if the feds approve it for use again.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Friday night the Department of Health would begin notifying New Jersey's vaccination sites they may resume use of the J&J one-dose shot, and provide them with updated fact sheets for patients and providers.
“This process should demonstrate for the public that the federal vaccine safety monitoring system is strong and should instill confidence in receiving any of the three approved vaccines,” Persichilli said.
Over in Connecticut, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be put back to use as early as Saturday. Dept. of Public Health spokesperson Maura Fitzgerald said its use depends on if a provider chooses to put it back into rotation or not. She suggests calling your provider to see if it is being used.
Federal, state and city agencies paused use of J&J shots April 13 due to concerns about blood clots. The CDC warned that if people have symptoms within three weeks after receiving the vaccine they should contact their health care providers.
Officials are now examining 15 reports of unusual clots, including a fatality, out of more than 8 million Americans given the one-dose vaccine so far. All of the cases involved women; 12 of the 15 involved clots in the brain.
The pause caused some concern about whether some Americans would be more hesitant to get vaccinated. Officials have stressed daily, if not multiple times daily, since the pause that the risk of not getting vaccinated is much higher than the clot risk for the vast majority.