University of Kentucky to pause J&J vaccines, LFCHD clinic still on

Posted at 9:03 AM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 18:48:47-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — In an abundance of caution, the University of Kentucky will temporarily pause administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Gatton Student Center site following recommendations Tuesday morning by the federal government.

Vaccines will continue to be administered to those who are scheduled for appointments using the Pfizer two-shot vaccine until further guidance is issued by the federal government about J&J.

"We decided the best thing to do, the wisest, the most prudent thing to do would be to pause as the federal government recommended," UK spokesman Jay Blanton said.

UK had just started to give out the J&J vaccine last week, and since then, have administered about 1,000 doses. Blanton said no serious side effects have been reported.

LEX 18 spoke to a few students on campus who had already received the vaccine. They said they were fearful of the news but quickly learned that looking deeper into the data gave them some relief.

"It was kind of scary to hear that, but then like with the numbers it made me a little more comfortable and it makes me feel comfortable too that they stopped giving them out," student Shakira Washington said.

The numbers she's referring to are in the data released by the CDC and FDA that said of the more than 6.8 million people who have received the J&J vaccine, six have reported a rare and severe type of blood clot.

"It's a little frightening if the number goes up but for right now I think I'll be okay because I haven't had any symptoms," student Cedena Sass said. "I've been feeling fine. I think I'm good."

We talked to other students who said they chose not to get the J&J vaccine prior to Tuesday's announcement.

"I think the J&J is newer, I was kind of cautious of it," student Ashley Hinton said.

Blanton said any student who has had the vaccine and has concerns should contact their health care provider.

He also said UK will watch the CDC and FDA closely for their future guidance. In the meantime, many open spots remain for the Pfizer vaccine for those who want one.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is still planning on having its Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic Friday. However, all registrations have been paused, so no one else can sign up. So far, about 400 people have an appointment.

Overall, Communications Director Kevin Hall said LFCHD has administered about 970 doses of the J&J vaccine. He said no serious side effects have been reported. Hall said LFCHD is waiting for more guidance to come out before making a finite decision about Friday's clinic. He said they are hoping to learn more Wednesday after the "federal review of adverse reaction reports" meeting.

"We'll contact anyone if anything changes with the cancellation on Friday but as of right now it's still going on as scheduled," Hall said.

Anyone with an appointment who wants to cancel can do so by calling LFCHD at (859) 899-2222.