A Message for Our MSK Community on the COVID-19 Vaccines


Dear Members of the MSK Community,

You may have heard that federal and New York State health authorities recommended a temporary pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, while six cases of a rare blood clotting disorder are investigated, including one fatal case. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 7.4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered.

As a result, MSK has suspended administering the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.

According to federal health authorities, extremely rare blood clots developed in six women between the ages of 18 and 48, and the symptoms occurred between six and 13 days after vaccination.

Therefore, people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the last couple of weeks should monitor for these symptoms: severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, and shortness of breath. If you experience any of them, you should contact your primary care provider. The risk to anyone vaccinated more than a month ago with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is extremely low.

An advisory panel convened by the FDA and CDC on April 14 said it needed more information before making a recommendation about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The panel said its investigation could take another week to 10 days.

MSK will continue administering the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. There have been no major safety concerns or similar events reported with more than 180 million doses of these vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines are being offered to all MSK patients who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Age 18 and over and who live, work, or study in New York State
  • Age 16 and over who are inpatients at MSK
  • Age 16 and over who are currently or have ever been outpatients at MSK and who live in New York State

Eligible patients can use this link to schedule a vaccination appointment. For people 16 and 17 years old, a parent or guardian must call their MSK doctor’s office to schedule a vaccination. You will not be able to schedule online.

Please remember that your appointment is only an appointment for you to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The specialized team of care providers in our vaccination clinic will not be able to talk with you about your medical care. If you have any questions about your medical care, please contact your primary MSK care team.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines and how we know they are highly effective and safe, please visit these resources on our website.

April 15, 2021

Additional Resources