Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: Debate over how to stop virus surge in upper Midwest

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- There's a growing debate over whether more shutdowns are needed to address the COVID crisis in the upper Midwest.

Even though more than 20% of Americans are now fully vaccinated, infections are surging in some areas, especially Michigan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer is requesting more vaccines, hoping that doubling down on distribution to achieve 70% herd immunity is the answer.

Instead, the CDC is sending Michigan a "surge team" to help FEMA with vaccinations, and the agency's director is calling for "stronger" restrictions in the state. Across the country, the daily case average is now at peak summer-surge levels, about 66,000 cases per day.

A new study says the UK variant, the now-dominant strain in the US, is more transmissible, but likely does not cause more severe disease.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



Hoboken residents 16+ can now register for vaccine
The Hoboken Health Department has opened the city's pre-registration list to now accept sign-ups for all Hoboken residents ages 16 and up, who will become eligible to receive the vaccine as of Monday, April 19.

Hoboken residents ages 16 and up can now pre-register, while selecting the category "general public," if they do not meet other currently listed categories. Those pre-registering are encouraged to provide an e-mail address if they have one, to allow for a faster registration process.

Hoboken residents ages 16 and 17 require a parent or guardian to pre-register on their behalf in order to receive a vaccine through the Hoboken Health Department at Carepoint.

What the suspension of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine means for you
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration on April 13 halted use of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that has been given to 6.8 million people in the U.S.

The pause is due to reports of blood clotting in six people who have received the vaccine. One woman died, and another has been hospitalized in critical condition. Dr. William Petri, an infectious disease physician and immunologist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, answers questions to help put this development in context.

U.S. calls for pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine after clotting cases
The FDA and CDC are recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six cases of blood clots in women. The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance.

"Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution," the CDC and FDA wrote in a joint statement. "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."

Westchester County suspends J&J vaccines
Westchester County has suspended use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine pending further safety information after a pause was recommended due to a rare blood clotting disorder in six recipients.

"While the CDC and the FDA have reported that six people who received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine developed a rare blood clotting disorder within about three weeks of vaccination, it is important to remember that It is not known if the blood clotting disorder was caused by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or other factors," the county health department said in a statement. "An estimated 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered so far, suggesting the disorder is extremely rare, affecting fewer than one in a million recipients. "

FEMA overwhelmed by calls on 1st day to apply for COVID funeral assistance
Families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 can now get help with funeral expenses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, though the program got off to a bumpy start. The agency on Monday launched a hotline -- 844-684-6333 -- to apply for up to $9,000 in assistance per burial. While FEMA has aided families with disaster-related burial costs in the past, the COVID-19 effort is the largest of its type. Some $2 billion was allocated as part of the $900 billion relief deal Congress approved in December, while the Democrats' $1.9 trillion package last month bolstered it by providing the agency with an additional $50 billion to use for coronavirus-related costs.

Nassau County Executive calls J&J pause 'a setback'
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced she is pausing all Johnson & Johnson vaccines at county-run facilities, calling it "setback" in the fight against COVID-19. She said more than 600,000 residents have received at least one vaccine, close to half the population, and only 1-2% received the J&J shot. It was mostly being used for homebound seniors and inmates, Curran said, and officials are now reevaluated that process.

Putnam County J&J appointments getting Moderna
All appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines Tuesday at the Putnam County Department of Health site have been canceled, and all individuals will be offered the Moderna vaccine. Individuals who were registered for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Garrison can register on-site for the Moderna vaccine or schedule their Moderna appointment online. Due to reports of an extremely rare adverse event after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, New York State will follow the CDC and FDA recommendation and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine statewide, effective immediately while the Federal vaccine planning panel reviews safety concerns.

NJ pausing J&J vaccines
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced that out of an abundance of caution and following the guidance of the CDC and FDA, the New Jersey Department of Health has paused the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine across all vaccination sites in the state. All New Jersey vaccination sites have been told to cancel or put on hold appointments for the J&J vaccine until further notice. For individuals scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine, the department will work with all vaccination sites to make arrangements for the administration of an alternative two-dose vaccine

J&J appointments at Javits Center will get Pfizer
The Javits Center in Manhattan says anyone with Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine appointments will get Pfizer instead.

"We are following the CDC announcement and will temporarily suspend distribution of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We will offer Pfizer to anyone with Johnson & Johnson appointments," the Javits Center said in a statement.

NYC vaccine centers to reschedule appointments
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that 234,000 people had been given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in New York City. He says there are no reports to date of any blood clots in people given the J&J one-dose shot in the city. People who had appointments scheduled at city vaccination sites will have their appointments rescheduled for a Pfizer or Moderna shot.

Connecticut pausing J&J shots
The Connecticut Department of Public Health recommended Tuesday that COVID vaccine providers pause on administration of J&J vaccine for the time being while the FDA and CDC complete their review. Although the reported complications are extremely rare, the state will await the results of the investigation before proceeding with further use of the J&J vaccine. DPH has informed vaccine providers that were planning to hold clinics using J&J to delay these clinics or offer an alternative vaccine if they have alternative vaccines available. DPH will work with providers to minimize the disruptions in the near-term to the extent possible, but they anticipate that some cancellations will occur. DPH has also encouraged providers to reach out to all individuals who were scheduled to come to a J&J clinic and let them know that their appointment will need to be rescheduled once the FDA and CDC have recommend resuming administration of the J&J vaccine.

NYC students opting-in
City officials say 51,000 students have opted back into New York City public schools to finish out the school year. Students returning in all grades will return on April 26.

When did you realize the COVID pandemic changed everything?
Many of us had a moment, most often occurring in March 2020, when we realized that COVID-19 had completely changed our lives forever. Even though we've managed to move forward and adapt to a new normal, that memory still sticks with us. Tell us: What was that moment to you?

Top 7 COVID vaccine questions answered
You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.

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