Local vaccination efforts pivoting as Johnson & Johnson vaccine is put on hold

Local News

GLASFORD, Ill. (WMBD) – Local vaccine clinics are racing to adjust after the sudden pause of one version of the COVID-19 vaccine.

With the CDC and FDA temporarily sidelining Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, Peoria County health leaders said it is taking about 4,000 doses out of play.

“That’s I think one of the most difficult things that we have to deal with right now is that we don’t have more vaccine to give to people right now,” said Monica Hendrickson, Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator.

In the meantime, local vaccination clinics are making necessary pivots. At Illini Bluffs Elementary School on Tuesday, plans to use the J & J vaccine were switched to Moderna.

“Moderna is a frozen vaccine so it does have an unthaw process so we had to make some quick adjustments to start accommodating for that, as well as just things like our paperwork,” said Kelly Walsh, Director of Innovation for Advanced Medical Transport.

As for those lining up to receive their jab, some say they aren’t overly concerned after J & J’s vaccine was put on hold.

“The law of averages states I’m not going to have a blood clot issue, I’m sorry for the people that did,” said Thomas Radford, Dunlap resident.

Some others explain they had hoped for the one-and-done shot, but they are just happy vaccinations are continuing.

“It didn’t matter which one to me, just get it done,” said Edward Gilmore, Glasford resident.

Walsh says the community should not let Johnson & Johnson’s pause to deter them from scheduling a shot.

“I would say any vaccine that you can take you most certainly should take it as our numbers are rising in the Peoria area, the Tri-County area really,” she said.

Walsh explains the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that has been received is being stored. She says that it does not expire until June.

Hendrickson says the Peoria City/County Health Department’s plan is to continue shifting towards Pfizer and Moderna until Johnson & Johnson’s pause is lifted.

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