JEFFERSON PARISH, La— News spread quickly on the morning of April, 13th of six women who had blood clots after taking Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine. One of the women died and another is in serious condition. The CDC urged the immediate halt of vaccination with Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine, leaving many across the country scrambling to change vaccine type to keep up with the vaccination goal.
Many fear, sentiments about the overall vaccination effort could change. Both Moderna and Pfizer’s stock rose, as Johnson and Johnson’s stock fell after the CDC decision. The vaccine development arrived after a weekend of mass vaccination events that administered Johnson & Johnson over the weekend across the New Orleans area.
Gretchen Hirt Gendron is the Public Information Officer for Jefferson Parish and says, “this is out of an abundance of caution. We urge our residents to contact your local healthcare providers if you are having symptoms. Our priority at Jefferson Parish is to get as many shots in arms as possible.”
The vaccine scare comes after communities are seeing a slowdown of residents wanted to receive vaccine. Part of the concern of those on the fence about receiving vaccine was that vaccines were created too expeditiously and there was not enough time to see what side effects could occur. Blood clots in six people are a small number when compared to the 66,203,123 in the United States that have been vaccinated. Still, the halting of vaccine could cripple a return to normality. Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested at the beginning of the year that it would take 70 to 80 percent of the country to be fully vaccinated to resume as things once were before the pandemic. As cities try to reach that percentage with vaccine supply, there is a concern that many might not feel comfortable taking vaccine.
Jefferson Parish was one of a countless number of vaccination sites that were scheduled to administer Johnson & Johnson and made the change to either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
Gendron says, “lately, we’ve had to really push to get the shots in arms. The supply is here and the demand is not as high.”
As coronavirus cases rise with loosened restrictions and a more contagious UK variant, now considered the dominant variant in the United States, many are curious about vaccine apprehension and if the Johnson & Johnson blood clots could hurt the mission of recovery.
However, with more than 562,000 deaths due to the coronavirus, there are many that seek out vaccine, regardless of which one is offered at vaccination events. Shawanda Williams, attended the event at the Harvey Community Center to receive what would have been the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Instead she received the first of her two Moderna shots. She joins the 24 percent of the Jefferson Parish population that have been fully vaccinated. Her inspiration for being vaccinated, is to not experience the death of another family member, due to the coronavirus.
“I still believe in it. I’m still having it. It’s still important,” says Williams.