J&J suspension won’t affect NJ’s COVID vaccine expansion to 16 and older: Murphy

COVID-19 vaccine vials and the Johnson & Johnson logo

An illustration picture shows COVID-19 vaccine vials and the Johnson & Johnson logo. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

TRENTON, N.J. — The suspension of Johnson & Johnson vaccines in New Jersey will not affect the state’s ability to lower the age of eligibility to 16 years and older on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.

Additionally, the governor said the state’s goal of vaccinating 4.7 million residents by the end of June “remains in place” and is “entirely achievable.”

New Jersey, New York and several other states halted the use of J&J shots on Tuesday at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Food and Drug Administration while the agencies investigate at least six cases of blood clotting in vaccine recipients.

Murphy said the state paused Johnson & Johnson vaccinations out of an abundance of caution and that the cases of blood clotting appear to be extremely rare.

“No one who has received the J&J vaccine should panic or worry. This review by the CDC and FDA is coming out of an abundance of caution,” the governor said. “This review is critical to our efforts to ensure confidence in our vaccination program and the vaccines themselves.”

Just over 244,000 doses of the J&J vaccine were administered in New Jersey prior to the suspension. The state has not received any reports of adverse effects similar to what the CDC and FDA are investigating.

All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48 and occurred between six and 13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. One person died.

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