State Health officials pause Johnson & Johnson vaccinations
By Kassie Simmons | April 13, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT – Updated April 13 at 8:48 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Vaccine clinics in the Cape Fear area continued on Tuesday after Johnson and Johnson vaccines were put on hold, but some who recently got their shot of the one-dose vaccine are concerned about what the new recommendation means for them.
“We’ve administered around 3,155 vaccines that are Johnson & Johnson in various locations over the past week or two,” said David Howard, the public health director for New Hanover County.
Some of those doses were given as recently as Monday, less than 24 hours before the CDC announced their recommendation to pause giving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after six people reported blood clots after getting vaccinated. New Hanover Regional Medical Center Chief Clinical Officer Dr. West Paul says they can’t say for sure the vaccine is causing blood clots until the investigation is over.
“Is this a true symptom because of the vaccine, or is it statistically that these people may have sustained this anyway? I think that has to be looked at and maybe identify an at-risk population.” said Dr. Paul. “Maybe there are certain individuals at-risk for this that we should say ‘you should get Pfizer, not the J&J vaccine.’”
Clinics continued on Tuesday with the Pfizer vaccine filling in. Health officials say the pause may only be temporary.
“This is not a recall,” said Dr. Paul. “This is a voluntary pause. It does not mean they have recalled the vaccine. It does not mean they have a mandatory ‘stop the vaccination process.’”
In fact, the medical center’s Johnson & Johnson doses will stay in their freezers until further notice. So far, the CDC’s new recommendation hasn’t slowed the push for vaccines. Howard hopes that doesn’t change but understands if people decide to hold off getting their dose — for now.
“If people feel like they want to wait, that’s fine,” said Howard. “We understand people need to consider their own personal health conditions. If they consult with their primary healthcare provider about the risk, that’s a very good source of accurate and dependable information.”
Only the Johnson & Johnson vaccinations are paused. Moderna and Pfizer are being used as planned.
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