Anyone 16 and older can now get vaccinated in NY, NJ and CT
NEW JERSEY - The entire Tri-State area is now offering COVID-19 vaccines to anyone 16 and older. New Jersey has expanded its eligibility to match New York and Connecticut.
Monday is also Pres. Joe Biden's deadline for all states to widen vaccine eligibility to all adult Americans, despite a pause in Johnson & Johnson's vaccine rollout.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci estimates the pause will not extend beyond Friday. That's when the CDC's independent vaccine advisory panel is set to meet for a second time since J&J's vaccines were halted.
"I think it will likely say ‘Okay, we’re going to use it but be careful under these certain circumstances.’" Dr. Fauci told NBC's 'Meet the Press' on Sunday.
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The circumstances will likely apply to those at a higher risk of blood clotting. Federal health agencies identified eight people who developed a rare blood clotting disorder within the first two weeks of getting the J&J shot. But, more than seven million other Americans have also received that vaccine without any issues. The ongoing pause is meant to give health officials time to examine whether the J&J vaccine was responsible for the clots.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Commissioner of the FDA says the return of J&J will help ensure all communities get protected because it's a single-dose and easier to store.
"To the extent that we're having trouble reaching certain communities with vaccination, because of the complexity of delivering the current vaccines, the J&J vaccine was a beneficial alternative," Dr. Gottlieb told CBS' 'Face the Nation' in an interview on Sunday.
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But efforts to tamp down vaccine hesitancy just got a lot more complicated, as the U.S. stands amid a pivotal moment in fighting the virus.
The CDC says half of Americans 18 and older have now received at least one Covid shot. Health officials are worried much of the other half is too skeptical to get vaccinated.