LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Lexington-Fayette County Department of Health has resumed its use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The health department hosted a walk-in vaccine clinic on Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Southeast Lexington Child Development Center. Two-hundred doses were made available for the clinic.
The federal government recommended a temporary pause on the vaccine in mid-April so officials could investigate reports of 15 women who developed rare blood clots after receiving the one-dose shot. The 15 cases are out of more than eight million doses administered in the United States.
Barbara Barlow said she had scheduled an appointment to receive the J&J vaccine, but the federal order came in mere days before she was supposed to get it.
“I’ve been waiting for this vaccine,” she said. “One and done.”
The FDA and CDC lifted the recommended pause on the J&J vaccine on Friday after deciding the risks from the coronavirus outweighed the risk of rare side effects from the vaccine.
Barlow said when the FDA announced vaccinations could resume, she began searching for new appointments.
“The women who were getting blood clots were not in my age range, and they’re less than one in a million. So, I figured even if I’m the one in a million, that is only one,” she said.
The vaccine clinic hosted on Thursday by the Lexington-Fayette County Department of Health was the earliest she found.
“If there’s one thing I absolutely don’t need, it’s a case of COVID-19,” Barlow said.
However, the pause has wavered confidence in some community members who were planning to be vaccinated, according to Community Action Council director Sharon Price.
“I'm not gonna kid you and say that people weren't concerned. Anytime you have a hiccup, people are going to be concerned. But what I do believe is that Johnson and Johnson is still a safe vaccine for people to come out and get. And I would tell everyone to get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. You're better protected that way than not having a vaccine at all,” Price said.
Kevin Hall with the Lexington-Fayette Department of Health said at the end of the day, all three vaccine options are safe.
“The federal government has reviewed and followed the process and said there’s no need for the pause to continue. This is a safe vaccine,” Hall said.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine does give health officials an advantage in connecting with hard-to-reach communities, however. The single-dose shot is easier to distribute logistically because it does not require scheduling multiple appointments.
“The numbers at the mass vaccination clinics have been getting smaller. By coming out into the community, we hope to see the vaccination numbers go back up,” Hall added.
The health department is working on scheduling more walk-in vaccine clinics in the coming weeks, according to Hall.