Experts fear vaccine hesitancy after Johnson & Johnson pause and restart


U.S. health officials have lifted the pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Several states have given the green light, but Governor Andy Beshear has not said when or if the one-shot vaccine will be given again in Kentucky.

Lexington’s Dr. Ryan Stanton pointed out that vaccine numbers are slowing down. “We’re running out of people who were initially very excited to get the vaccine, and now folks are a little bit more hesitant. And those folks need to get the vaccine so we can get through this,” he said. Dr. Stanton fears that hesitancy will grow, especially with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine pause.

The good news is that other vaccines are available. “There’s enough supply of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson that you can get the one you want. Weigh whether you want the two-shot or one-shot, whether you want to look at the data that’s available out there,” he said. “We’re finally at the point where you can really pick which one you think is best for your situation.” Some small communities depended on Johnson and Johnson, though because of limited resources in rural areas, including workforce and storage. Studies show people in rural communities are also least likely to get the vaccine in the first place.

Dr. Stanton said many people would refuse the Johnson and Johnson vaccine with or without the pause. “There’s not really much that we can say to a lot of people to convince them that they’re going to or that they need to get the vaccine.” Overall, he’s confident with this vaccine.

Studies found only 15 people developed blood clots out of nearly 8 million people who were given the shot. “COVID-19 virus did not and then blood clots. The question is whether this is something different or new, or if it’s whether something that’s associated with oral contraceptives, or smoking, or other clotting disorders,” he said.

Of those 15 reported blood clots, all patients were women, most under age 50. Three died, and seven remain hospitalized.

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