Metro clinics hoping Johnson & Johnson pause doesn’t discourage people from getting vaccine

Tracking Coronavirus

BUCKNER, Mo. — Clinics in the metro are continuing to cancel and reschedule after planning to use the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.  

A steady stream of cars rolled through Buckner City Park to receive their COVID vaccine Wednesday thanks to the Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri. The organization is having to make last minute changes to one of its next clinics because of the ongoing J&J vaccine review. But they’re hoping it doesn’t discourage anyone from getting vaccinated.

John Goldsmith and his wife Mary Jane are thankful to now be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  The couple lives in rural Napoleon, Missouri, and it took a while to find a clinic close to them.

“We had a little bit of difficulty and were on several of the waiting lists. Just by pure luck, a neighbor called and said there was going to be one held down here at the park,” John Goldsmith said.

After filling out some quick paperwork, the couple rolled up their sleeves to get the shot.

“It was just like clockwork, so well managed. I’m really surprised and have had no issues at all,” John said.

Since December, Healthcare Collaborative’s held 35 clinics and given more than 6,000 vaccine doses.

“We’re just doing the best we can and I feel like we’re making an impact on the community and that’s what we’re all here for,” said Kayla Schmidt, risk manager with Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri.

This week, there was a hiccup in the process. HCC was planning its first single-dose clinic with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Saturday in Lexington, with 800 doses ready to go. 

Now that the J&J vaccine is under federal scrutiny following a handful of rare blood clots, HCC is now calling everyone who booked appointments as a heads-up Moderna shots will now be offered instead.

“When people are already nervous about receiving the vaccine, whether it’s Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson, it definitely does add another layer of concern for them. So if someone was already on the fence, it might persuade somebody not to get the vaccine,” said Jenna Holt, quality coordinator with Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri.

Nurse Jenna Holt is hoping those who signed up won’t put it off. She knows first-hand the risk of doing so.

“I had a chance to get the vaccine in December, didn’t take it then got COVID in February. So I definitely deeply regret not getting that vaccine because I’ve had a lot of long-term effects of COVID,” Holt said.

She’s vaccinated now and hopes more folks like the Goldsmiths in the small communities HCC serves will come get their shots, too.

“It makes me feel safe and you can go freely outside and do whatever you want,” said Mary Jane Goldsmith.

You can find and book vaccine appointments in Buckner, Odessa and Lexington here. You can also reach Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri for assistance in scheduling, by calling Amanda (816) 807-5795 or Suzanne (660) 229-5293.

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