The nation’s pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is sparking conversations on COVID-19 vaccinations in general. Some continue to urge getting a vaccine, while others remain hesitant.
Marshall County Health Director Billy Pitts said it is likely that more people will become hesitant about vaccines. “That is definitely going to create a ripple effect, I think anyone would be naive to think that it wouldn’t, especially for those who are on the fence,” Pitts said.
He said he hopes people will look at the numbers and realize the odds of severe side effects are slim.
The pause on the single-dose vaccine is also affecting pharmacies and health departments everywhere. Pitts said he was disappointed to hear the news.
“We were in fact, really depending on the Johnson & Johnson to be the vaccine [for] those that were having some hesitancy,” Pitts said.
“[That they] would be willing to take that one, just simply because it’s just a one-shot, and you’re done with it type of scenario, so this really rocks that boat.”
Pitts said his health department had to cancel 75 Johnson & Johnson vaccinations this week because of the news.
The CDC is tracking how many of the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are going out. The Johnson & Johnson is used the least. More than 6.8 million have been administered to date, with six reported blood clot cases. That equates to a 0.0000009% chance of that happening to an individual.
Gov. Andy Beshear said the odds of dying from COVID-19 in Kentucky is one in 558. That’s just one reason Baptist Health Chief Medical Officer Brad Housman is urging people to get the Moderna or Pfizer shots.
“We’ve certainly vaccinated a lot of people, but if we have that goal, if we’re going to achieve the governor’s goal, we’ve still got a long way to go,” Housman said. “We’ve still got over a million folks that we need to get in for visits and get vaccinated so please consider it.”
Health leaders are training on how to properly deal with these vaccine-related blood clots, which require different treatment than other types of blood clots.
J&R Pharmacy in Marshall County also administers Johnson &Johnson vaccines. Pharmacist Blake Wiseman said they have canceled all of their appointments as well.
“Right now, we’re just waiting on more guidance from the state, from the feds before moving forward,” Wiseman said.