Local J&J vaccinations being canceled for 'pause'

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop up vaccinations site the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.  

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," he said. 

He hopes people will look at the numbers and realize that the odds of severe side effects are slim.

The pause on the single-dose vaccine is affecting pharmacies and health departments everywhere.

" 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. 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," said Wiseman.

He has also received the vaccine and encourages people to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

"I feel very comfortable about it," said Wiseman.

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 percent chance of that happening to an individual. 

Governor Andy Beshear said the odds of dying from COVID-19 in Kentucky is one in 558.

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.

The symptoms of the blood clot include severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath. If someone has taken the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and experience any of these symptoms, they should reach out to their local healthcare provider.