Haverhill, Area Communities Alter Plans Following ‘Pause’ in Use of J and J Vaccine

State Sens. Bruce Tarr, left, and Diana DiZoglio, right, toured the Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Collaborative clinic Saturday to learn about the operation and speak with volunteers, nurse managers and other. Also pictured is Amesbury Fire Chief Kenneth Berkenbush explaining the ways the collaborative balances the scheduling of nurses and volunteers, while Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove looks on. (Photograph courtesy Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Collaborative.)

Area communities are making adjustments following the “pause” in use of the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, but all are vowing to continue protecting residents.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for the halt early Tuesday morning to study rare blood clotting issues occurring in six people out of nearly seven million vaccinated. Methuen cancelled a planned clinic Tuesday at the Loop, advising residents to watch for future Moderna clinics. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Haverhill was administering mostly Moderna second doses this week at the Citizen’s Center, but did have a small number of J and J scheduled Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

“We fully expect that we will be able to resume these vaccines shortly. We wish to reassure the public that there is no reason to panic or to avoid getting vaccinated. These vaccines have been proven safe and effective many times. The risk of clotting is extremely low.  If we are allowed to resume, we will do so immediately,” Fiorentini said.

The Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Collaborative, providing vaccines in Groveland, Merrimac, West Newbury and other communities, cancelled a clinic planned for Thursday. Officials said those who registered will be given the opportunity to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this weekend.

“This is an unfortunate situation, but as always we will abide by the guidance and information we receive from our state and federal health partners,” said Amesbury Fire Chief and Health Director Ken Berkenbush. “We are pleased that we will be able to hold our patients faultless and ensure that all patients who would have received a Janssen vaccine this week will have the chance to receive a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.”

Approximately 2,000 people already received the J and J vaccine at clinics in Amesbury and West Newbury.

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