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Pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine causes mixed confidence in the local community

Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Posted at 5:49 PM, Apr 26, 2021

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is back at vaccination sites after a nearly two-week pause, but that pause is creating some doubt in the community.

There's mixed reaction about getting the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the CDC lifted the pause it put into place when a rare blood clotting issue was discovered.

More doses are expected to arrive on the Central Coast soon. Some community members are willing to take it, while others are not.

Grover Beach mom Stephanie Lacalle already got her first dose of Pfizer earlier this month but said she would have taken the J&J vaccine.

“I think it's safe. Anything to help the community,” Lacalle said.

Another woman, who got inoculated in Bakersfield is confident in the third vaccine.

“They've done a lot of studies on it and they had issues of course, but hopefully they've been resolved. Hopefully, no one else has issues,” said Sharon Kruse, who got the Pfizer shot.

However, many are not convinced the benefits outweigh the risks despite what experts say.

“I am just waiting to narrow it down even more and see which one is best in the long run,” said Grover Beach resident Michael Durso. “My personal preference, I have just been waiting a little bit longer to get a little more information regarding those before I commit to a certain type of vaccine.”

Arroyo Grande resident Brian Twomey already got his Pfizer shot but said if offered, would not have taken the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“I would be a little uncomfortable getting it, “ Twomey said. "I would need to do a little more research.”

Governor Gavin Newsom supports the CDC's decision calling Johnson & Johnson's vaccine "safe and effective."

Local medical experts agree.

Dr. Henning Ansorg, Santa Barbara County Health Officer, said during last week's press conference that the risk of blood clots is extremely rare.

“Please, rest assured, we are taking the safety of the vaccines very seriously. An adverse event is immediately reported to a national database called VAERS which serves as an early warning system for potentially vaccine-related problems. Just very recently, it showed how well this works,” Dr. Ansorg said.

Health experts say the best shot is the next available one.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials said the 'pause' did not significantly impact local vaccination efforts.

"SLO County will begin again to administer Johnson and Johnson vaccine now that the pause has been terminated. We will be distributing new Vaccine Information Sheets along with those doses, provided to us by the California Department of Public Health. That said, the Public Health Department has so few doses of this vaccine in our inventory that we will likely only use them for mobile clinics as needed or they may be re-distributed to local pharmacies."
Michelle Shoresman, San Luis Obispo County Public Health spokeswoman

The local supply is mostly made up of Pfizer and Moderna doses.