Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Young Israeli man receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection, February 10, 2021.

New York residents who were originally scheduled to receive their inoculations with the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, will instead be rescheduled to receive the two-shot series with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, state health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced Tuesday.

The most common side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been brief periods of fever, fatigue, aches and pain in the injection site, usually within 24 to 48 hours after the dose is administered.

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The announcement followed one by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), recommending a “pause” in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Health officials are reassessing the possible side effects of the vaccine after six women developed a rare blood clot disorder some two weeks after inoculation with the J&J shot.

“New York State will follow the CDC and FDA recommendation and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine statewide immediately today while these health and safety agencies evaluate next steps,” Zucker said in his statement.

“As the CDC and FDA have said, any adverse events related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ‘appear to be extremely rare.’ People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health provider,” Zucker added. “I am in constant contact with the federal government and we will update New Yorkers as more information becomes available.”

Out of seven million Americans, six female recipients of the vaccine between the ages of 18 and 48 developed a rare blood clot disorder within some two weeks after being inoculated. One of the women died and a second one, in Nebraska, was hospitalized in critical condition.

Responding to the announcement by the FDA and CDC, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said in a statement that “out of an abundance of caution, they have recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as they review data involving six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“This announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan: “Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5 percent of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date.

“Based on actions taken by the President earlier this year, the United States has secured enough Pfizer and Moderna doses for 300 million Americans. Over the last few weeks, we have made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and in fact this week we will make available 28 million doses of these vaccines.

“This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day and meet the President’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office – and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated. We are working now with our state and federal partners to get anyone scheduled for a J&J vaccine quickly rescheduled for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.