The New Mexico health department announced this morning it is pausing all of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID vaccine distribution, following federal recommendations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint statement and held a news conference this morning following reports of six “rare and severe” blood clots—out of 6.8 million doses administered—among women between the ages of 18 and 48 in the US, with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

The statement, attributed to CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, described the “adverse events” as “extremely rare,” and said they were recommending pausing the J & J doses “out of an abundance of caution…This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”

According to the CDC news release, this type of blood clot is called a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, and it was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets, a condition known as thrombocytopenia. “Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered,” the statement says. “Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.”

The CDC announced that its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet tomorrow to further review the cases and “assess their potential significance.” According to Marks, speaking to reporters this morning, all the women had responses between six and 13 days after receiving the vaccine: one case was fatal and one patient is in critical condition.

In New Mexico, all J & J vaccinations will be paused or shifted to Pfizer or Moderna. “New Mexico—like the federal government—is acting out of an abundance of caution,” DOH Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said in a statement. “As we learn more, we will share that information.”

During last week’s COVID-19 update, Collins had said the state was expecting 109,950 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week, 3,700 of which would have been from J & J. DOH Communications Director Matt Bieber tells SFR the state is now expecting 100,400 doses this week, which will not include 1,200 J&J doses that were projected relatively recently. He says thus far, the state has administered just under 39,000 of the J & J doses, 3% of the total doses administered.

It was not clear at press time precisely where in the US the six cases had occurred. Bieber said, via email, he was unaware of any such cases in New Mexico. According to the CDC’s database for the national Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, there have been 390 reports of adverse responses to COVID-19 vaccines in New Mexico, approximately 68% connected with people receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine; 29% Moderna; and 7.7% Janssen’s J & J vaccine. That database also includes numerous disclaimers from the CDC cautioning that “VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable.”

In today’s CDC/FDA news conference, Schuchat noted that those people who have already received a J&J vaccine “…are probably very concerned.” For those who received the vaccine more than a month ago, she said, “the risk is very low at this time.” Anyone who develops severe headaches, blurred vision, seizures, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care providers and seek medical treatment. “These symptoms are different from the mild flu-like symptoms...that many people experience in a couple of days after receiving the vaccine,” Schuchat said. Health care providers should report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System.

Johnson & Johnson also issued a statement today saying it had chosen to “proactively delay” the rollout of its vaccine in Europe. “We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public,” the statement says.

New Mexico health officials today reported 187 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 194,164. The health department has designated 175,460 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 97 new cases, followed by Sandoval County with 21 and both Doña Ana and San Juan counties with 13. Santa Fe County had four new cases.

The state also announced nine additional deaths; there have now been 3,988 fatalities.

As of today, 103 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

According to the health department’s vaccine dashboard, currently, 52.7% of New Mexicans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 34.8% are fully vaccinated. In Santa Fe County, 51.8% have had at least one dose and 32.5 % are fully inoculated.

New cases

  • 97 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 1 new case in Curry County
  • 13 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 3 new cases in Eddy County
  • 4 new cases in Grant County
  • 3 new cases in Lea County
  • 1 new case in Luna County
  • 8 new cases in McKinley County
  • 3 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 21 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 13 new cases in San Juan County
  • 4 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 2 new cases in Sierra County
  • 3 new cases in Socorro County
  • 1 new case in Taos County
  • 1 new case in Torrance County
  • 8 new cases in Valencia County
  • 1 new case among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County

New fatalities

  • A female in her 50s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 80s from Chaves County who was a resident of the Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • A male in his 60s from Curry County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 60s from Doña Ana County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 70s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 70s from Eddy County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Artesia
  • A female in her 70s from Eddy County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 60s from McKinley County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 20s from Sandoval County who had underlying conditions

Congregate facilities

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at the following facilities:

  • Avamere at Fiesta Park in Albuquerque
  • Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
  • Casa del Sol Center in Las Cruces
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • Genesis Healthcare Uptown in Albuquerque
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • The Montecito in Santa Fe
  • New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • Rio Rancho Center
  • Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Vecino Sanos Assisted Living in Santa Rosa
  • White Sands Healthcare in Hobbs
  • The Woodmark at Uptown in Albuquerque

Statewide cases

According to a health department news release, previously reported numbers included nine cases that have been identified as duplicates (four in Bernalillo County, three in Chaves County and two in Eddy County)—these have now been corrected. One case previously reported in Cibola County has been determined to be among state inmates at the Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County and is now reported as such. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

  • Bernalillo County: 55,664
  • Catron County: 87
  • Chaves County: 8,782
  • Cibola County: 2,846
  • Colfax County: 730
  • Curry County: 5,055
  • De Baca County: 136
  • Doña Ana County: 24,205
  • Eddy County: 6,710
  • Grant County: 1,663
  • Guadalupe County: 376
  • Harding County: 9
  • Hidalgo County: 357
  • Lea County: 8,256
  • Lincoln County: 1,603
  • Los Alamos County: 506
  • Luna County: 3,263
  • McKinley County: 12,171
  • Mora County: 169
  • Otero County: 3,701
  • Quay County: 428
  • Rio Arriba County: 3,527
  • Roosevelt County: 1,875
  • Sandoval County: 11,616
  • San Juan County: 13,976
  • San Miguel County: 1,329
  • Santa Fe County: 9,945
  • Sierra County: 720
  • Socorro County: 1,257
  • Taos County: 1,632
  • Torrance County: 687
  • Union County: 246
  • Valencia County: 6,528

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 446
  • Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 444
  • Otero County Processing Center: 198
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 47

Cases among people being held by the New Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 292
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 251
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 762
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 167
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 127
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 472
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 217
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 230
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 230
  • Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 75

*Per the health department, hospitalization figures include people who were tested elsewhere but are hospitalized in New Mexico, but don’t include people who were tested here but are hospitalized out of state.