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NH to halt use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, days after Sununu’s shot

  • New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu after getting his COVID-19 Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine shot on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  • With his shirtsleeve rolled up and looking straight forward, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu gets ready for his Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

  • Cars line up at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway as people wait in line to be vaccinated on Saturday, April 10. 2021.

Concord Monitor
Published: 4/13/2021 5:38:44 PM
Modified: 4/13/2021 5:38:42 PM

CONCORD — Days after more than 10,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were doled out at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway — including to Gov. Chris Sununu — the state will temporarily stop administering the shots to comply with recommendations from federal health agencies.

The Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Drug Administration called for an immediate pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six women developed a blood clot disorder shortly after receiving their dose. The adverse vaccine reaction still appears to be extremely rare, though severe — as of Tuesday afternoon, one woman from Nebraska had died from the clot and another woman was in critical condition. More than 6.8 million Americans have received the J&J vaccine without developing this blood clot condition.

“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” a joint press release from the CDC and FDA read.

New Hampshire administered tens of thousands of the shots at a mass vaccination site in Loudon this past weekend and 4,500 more at fixed sites across the state. No clot-related disorders have been identified in the state, said Jake Leon, a spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

The temporary pause will not curb the state’s overall vaccination rollout, according to a statement released by the governor’s office Tuesday morning.

“This news will not slow down New Hampshire,” Sununu said in a news release. “While the federal government has directed a brief pause in the J&J vaccine, the state is already working with our partners to ensure that they have an alternative supply of Pfizer or Moderna to help continue their efforts today.”

No state-managed fixed sites were scheduled to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week and health officials are working to replace the vaccine with Pfizer or Moderna doses as quickly as possible.

For example, several Walmart locations that were planning to administer Johnson & Johnson shots Tuesday were set to receive replacement doses by 1 p.m.

Though New Hampshire had a small stockpile of about 8,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Leon said they can be safely stored in a refrigerator while safety concerns are reviewed until their expiration date in late June.

The state was already expecting fewer doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the coming weeks. During a news conference last week, Sununu said he expected 2,500 doses this week and 900 doses in the next couple of weeks.

Those who have already received the vaccine and experience a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination should contact their health care provider. The women who experienced the blood clot disorder developed symptoms within two weeks of their shot.

It is not clear exactly how long the pause will last, though CDC officials said they expect it to be a matter of days. The two federal agencies will meet on Wednesday to evaluate the significance of these cases.




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