East Alabama resident, doctor weigh in on pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 7:21 PM EDT
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PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - Both Georgia and Alabama are following the federal recommendations and temporarily pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to review reports of blood clots.

East Alabama residents and doctors are are weighing in with their thoughts.

Beulah resident Susan Sanders said she felt very few side effects from the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

“I just felt sluggish,” she said.

But six women have developed a rare blood clot disorder after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, out of more than 6.8 million doses of the shot that have been administered in the U.S. Now, the FDA and CDC are calling for an immediate pause on the vaccine.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is following suit and so are vaccine providers like Dr. Ritu Chandra.

“When I heard the news this morning, we also made the decision to suspend it temporarily,” Chandra said.

Alabama has administered more than 71,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to date. While U.S. health officials are determining the next course of action, local doctors said people can continue getting vaccinated.

“The good news is we have plenty of supply of the other two vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer,” Chandra said. “It’s not a game stopper. It’s not like all vaccinations are coming to a halt.”

According to ADPH, the blood clots are extremely rare and it’s not clear the reason behind the reactions or if it’s connected to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Dr. Chandra said she hopes the news doesn’t create more even more vaccine hesitancy.

“I think it’s going to take a little bit of extra work to convince some people,” she said.

Sanders said even with the latest information on Johnson & Johnson’s shot, she’s happy with their decision to get it.

“I don’t regret it,” she said. “I just hope it don’t scare everybody and they quit getting them.”

According to ADPH, because the state is halting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the number of vaccine providers will go from about 1,000 to around 700 going forward.

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