Nassau County halted Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccinations at its sites on Tuesday, according to County Executive Laura Curran.
A joint statement by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said that among 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccinations there have been six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in women between the ages of 18 and 48.
That led federal health officials to call for a pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine around the nation while they investigate.
Officials said treatment of the specific type of blood clot differs from the treatment that is usually administered.
“Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots,” according to the statement. “In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.”
On Tuesday, Curran called the news about the vaccine and the action to halt the shots “a setback” and reiterated that the public’s health and safety remains the county’s top priority.
“Because the CDC and FDA have recommended that we stop, that we pause the use of J&J, we’re going to do that at all of our county-run sites until further notice,” Curran said. “I want to remind residents that our vaccination program is still robust, it is still going strong, but we will be pausing any use of Johnson & Johnson.”
Curran said more than 45 percent of county residents had received at least one vaccination, with “a small percentage” of that total coming from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Curran said her administration has looked at ways to modify county-run operations to continue to keep the pace of daily inoculations.
Residents who have appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at state-run facilities will be getting the Pfizer vaccine, she said.
Curran said Northwell Health was able to provide Moderna vaccines to substitute for the Johnson & Johnson shots for Tuesday, so as to not cancel any appointments She also said the county is working to see how the pause will impact its homebound and inmate vaccinations.
According to state Health Department data, more than 615,000 Nassau County residents had received at least one vaccination dose as of Wednesday, with more than 418,000 having completed a vaccination series.