Kansas City VA vaccine appointments still on, chief doctor seeks to ease shot fears


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders at the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center are encouraging those with vaccination appointments to still come today, even though the scheduled shots will look a little different than expected.

Those with appointments at the hospital were scheduled for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, otherwise known as the Janssen vaccine. However, U.S. officials recommended a “pause” on the shot as they investigate potential blood clotting as a side effect.

Six women reported the clots, which are potentially dangerous. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

While some local leaders are asking those with appointments to reschedule, Doctor Ahmad Batrash, chief of staff at the VA Medical Center, said his staff is prepared to give the Pfizer shot instead.

“We have plenty of Pfizer vaccines available,” he said. “Instead of getting the Janssen vaccine ready, we got the Pfizer vaccine ready.”

Dr. Batrash said he thinks it’s good that officials are being cautious, but people shouldn’t jump to conclusions about the J&J vaccine.

“Keep in mind that blood clots happen from just other illnesses in general, so it’s not necessary related to the vaccine. However, the CDC and FDA is now looking into that to see out of abundance of caution… to see if it really is related to the vaccine or not,” he said.

He also pointed out that there are other vaccines available that have not had any major health hiccups, and so there are still clear options for getting inoculated.

“This is a third option for the vaccine,” he said. “The other vaccines are very effective, they’ve been in the market for some time, and safety profile is very good.”

The KCVA sent this statement to FOX4:

Today’s KCVA COVID-19 vaccine clinic will remain open and we will be offering the Pfizer vaccine until further guidance is received from VHA. We have enough Pfizer vaccine to ensure every Veteran, Veteran’s family members or caregiver 18 years old and older can receive the vaccine at our planned clinics this week.


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