Despite J&J pause, local health district anticipates opportunity for more vaccines
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Despite having to pull Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines from shelves for now, the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) gave 10,322 shots last week, for a total of 77,400 since distribution began in December.
The CSHD had a J&J clinic scheduled for April 13, the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration announced are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.
Marsha Rodeffer, the Nurse Manager with the CSHD, said staff quickly rolled with the punches and was able to shift from J&J vaccines to Moderna or Pfizer that same morning. Any J&J clinics scheduled for future dates were replaced with Moderna or Pfizer clinics.
Rodeffer said the health district did not have to postpone any shots due to the J&J pause.
Being in Phase 2 of distribution, she said they are seeing a lot of people in the “general population” turn out for shots and as more vaccines get directed to pharmacies and primary care physicians, Rodeffer said people will see more opportunity for the vaccine.
“People are going to have a lot of choices that may meet their needs better if they need an evening appointment or a Saturday/Sunday [appointment],” Rodeffer said. “They can run into the retail pharmacy and get that done, so I think we’ll see more availability.”
The CSHD has over 6,500 vaccines ready for people in the coming days. As health district staff work to vaccinate everyone 16 and older in the health district, Rodeffer said to break more barriers, they will begin to offer more walk-in clinics too.
But if you have not received your shot yet, Rodeffer said she still recommends that everyone pre-register first. With walk-ins, she said it will depend on vaccine availability, so by registering ahead of time, you’ve guaranteed yourself a shot.
The CSHD is now able to provide some walk-in clinics because shots are more readily available and some may be hesitant after the J&J vaccine pause, but they hope by having walk-in clinics will get more people through their clinic doors.
“Most of the people with Phase 2 when it opens up everyone, they’re healthy, so they may not be as interested in getting vaccinated,” Rodeffer said. “There could be issues with people not wanting to leave work to take the time to come get a vaccine at one of our events.”
The CSHD will no longer be posting available clinics on their website and instead is directing everyone to vaccineappointments.virginia.gov to sign up for health district clinics online.
To search for other vaccine clinics provided by local pharmacies and healthcare providers, you can visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call (877)-VAX-IN-VA.
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