LEXINGTON, Mo. — After a two-week pause, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are once again going into arms.
The shots were temporarily “paused” over concerns about rare blood clots, then cleared again after a review from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. But now the pause is having an impact on turnout.
Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri was set to have a mass vaccine clinic with the J&J shot days after the vaccine was paused. More than 160 people with appointments saw them canceled. Thursday was the first time that shot went out again, and it’s been a hard sell.
HCC is winding down its vaccination efforts. In four months, the organization has administered 6,200 shots in more than 40 clinics.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing. There’s a lot of people who are really happy to get it and excited and they’ve been very nice and pleasant,” said Melissa Smith, programs coordinator with Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri.
This clinic is using Moderna, along with J&J vaccines for the first time since the shot was paused.
Hundreds initially wanted the one-dose J&J shot, but only 11 scheduled to get it Thursday.
“We definitely want more people to come. I think people are a little hesitant to it, and maybe in the weeks coming might start to open up to it more,” Smith said.
Judy Schrieman admits she was a little nervous to get the single-dose vaccine but believes the benefits far outweigh any risks.
“I decided somebody’s got to know what they’re doing or we’re all going to be in trouble. There’s no guarantees with any of them, but it does bring hope we can get back to normal life,” Schrieman said.
The 63-year-old suffers from COPD and needs full-time oxygen. She’s been pretty cautious the past year and is looking forward to more time with family and traveling this summer.
“I’ve tried to protect myself anyway, but my sisters and I decided we’re going on a sisters trip this year in June so, by God, all of us are going to get safe and go,” Schrieman said.
Healthcare Collaborative is planning to end its vaccine clinics before Memorial Day and hopes many more like Judy will come in to get this vital protection.
“Definitely do your homework on what you think is going to be best for yourself whether it be Johnson & Johnson or Moderna or Pfizer and just keep everybody safe is what we want to do,” Smith said.
HCC has about 1,200 J&J shots, and it’s hoping people will feel confident in the vaccine again to come get this protection. If not, those doses will get sent back to the state or redistributed to other clinics.
If you’d like to book an appointment, you can schedule one here. You can also reach Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri for assistance in scheduling, by calling Amanda at 816-807-5795 or Suzanne at 660-229-5293.