Will Twin Tiers be affected by J & J pause? Local health experts weigh in


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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – “The number of these complications is not the concern. They [the complications] are unique. As of now, the FDA and the CDC are stating that there is no direct indication that the vaccine caused that,” Chief Medical Officer at Arnot Health Dr. Steven Heneghan said.

The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Health have paused all Johnson & Johnson vaccines, as researchers investigate rare blood clots that formed in six women.

These patients had unusual clots near the brain and intestines within two weeks of receiving the one-dose vaccine.

“The blood clots are in somewhat unusual areas and somewhat unusual circumstances, which is really what triggered their concern,” Dr. Heneghan continued.

“I think it was prudent to not ignore what occurred with six women,” Steuben Public Health Director Darlene Smith added.

The J & J vaccine was restricted in New York last week, as Governor Cuomo announced the state would be receiving fewer doses. This was the third vaccine to receive FDA emergency use authorization in the United States, so it was not as widely produced as Pfizer and Moderna. It was becoming more available as production increased.

If you have already received the J & J vaccine, officials say don’t panic.

“All of the recommendations indicate that if you’ve gotten to four weeks after getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, you should just get the benefit of the vaccine. You are no longer at risk of having that complication,” Dr. Heneghan said.

This pause comes as Oxford AstraZeneca experiences similar challenges in Europe. A small number of patients overseas had rare blood clots following their vaccination, which may have caused the FDA and CDC to respond quickly to the new J & J concerns. There are other vaccines that are currently approved in the United States, which will move the vaccination process forward.

Moderna and Pfizer are made differently than the J & J and Oxford AstraZeneca. In the Southern Tier, a majority of the clinics offer Moderna and Pfizer, according to Smith.

“I hope that individuals don’t use this as further rationale to not proceed with a vaccine at all,” Smith continued.

18 News will continue to update viewers on air and online as more information becomes available. Click the following to see vaccine clinics available this week:

Chemung County, N.Y.

Steuben County, N.Y. (walk-in clinic in Bath)

Corning Community College (NYS mass vaccination site)

Sayre, Pa

Pennsylvania State Vaccine Finder

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