NY 1: Seniors stuck home waiting after Johnson & Johnson vaccine put on pause

Jason Autar is the Chief Operating Officer of Bronx Rising Initiative. The nonprofit organization just launched a vaccination program for homebound seniors on Monday and it was stopped on Tuesday.


What You Need To Know

  • City homebound vaccination programs utilize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio said it's challenging to bring vaccines to seniors homes with a vaccine that takes two doses

  • The city suspended the homebound vaccination program citywide until at least Sunday, that’s about 1,500 appointments postponed


“It’s aggravating,” he said. “This was gonna be our dry run, our test run Monday. we vaccinated seven individuals.”


But roughly 100 other seniors signed up with Bronx Rising and are now waiting for the homebound shots.


That's because the program only uses the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which the CDC recommended suspending from use on Tuesday after six people nationwide developed severe blood clots.


“A lot of disappointment, a lot of disappointment because they’re under the guise that this is gonna happen and this is gonna happen really quickly, and it’s just unfortunate because a lot of them don’t have access to technology," said Autar. “A lot of them don’t have the means to travel so they really are dependent on our ability to provide this service for them.”


“This is a big curveball,” Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday.


The city suspended the homebound vaccination program citywide until at least Sunday, that’s about 1,500 appointments postponed. More than 6,000 homebound vaccines had been administered until now.


“The bottom line is, getting Johnson & Johnson back in play with whatever appropriate guidance is the best solution," said de Blasio. "That's the best way to do the homebound work. It's very hard to do the homebound effort with a vaccine that takes two doses. If we had to, we would start that approach."


“These things happen and we have to just continue doubling down our efforts and do that community education and community outreach,” said Autar.


Bronx Rising will continue with its tenth pop up vaccination site on Friday, focusing on underserved senior centers in public housing, knowing like the city its homebound program is paused until it gets guidance from the federal and, or state government.


BY MICHAEL HERZENBERG


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