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J&J vaccines are back in Florida, but some are hesitant about shot

Johnson & Johnson doses were paused to investigate rare blood clot

COVID-19 vaccine demand lessening at main South Florida hub
COVID-19 vaccine demand lessening at main South Florida hub

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Monday marked the second day since Florida resumed administering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

So far, it seems some people remain hesitant to get the J&J shot that was paused while the CDC and FDA reviewed rare cases of blood clots. Although demand for all the shots appears to be at a new low.

At the vaccination site on Miami Dade College’s north campus, 427 people got a Pfizer first dose Sunday, compared with 195 doses of the J&J.

On Monday, through 3:30 p.m., 330 J&J doses were given, as well as 289 initial Pfizer doses.

That is way below the state-run, federally funded vaccination site’s current daily capacity of 3,000 doses of the one-shot J&J and 2,500 Pfizer first doses.

A steady stream of people was arriving after 5 p.m., however.

Lola Marinelli, 19, came earlier in the day with her mother to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. She was first hesitant but changed her mind.

“At first I was really worried,” she said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen to you, but then I decided that I wanted Johnson.”

Some hesitancy as J&J vaccines resume in Florida
Some hesitancy as J&J vaccines resume in Florida

Sergio Nieves also got the J&J shot Monday, saying “I really don’t have a concern. It says it’s effective so you have to do it.”

Nieves said he got the vaccine so he could be around his mom. She got the J&J shot days before the federal government announced it was pausing its use.

“So we were kind of iffy at the moment but watching the news and watching videos on YouTube calmed everything down,” Nieves said.

His mother, Bertha Nieves, who is in her 60s, says people shouldn’t be afraid because the vaccine can save lives.

Florida is among 32 states now resuming use of the J&J vaccine after federal health officials lifted the 11-day pause, adding a new warning about the potential of extremely rare blood clots.

Nurses and pharmacists will be warning women to call their doctor if they are experiencing headaches, abdominal or leg pain, or trouble breathing after getting the J&J shot.

Out of 8 million administered doses, the CDC found 15 women suffered from the blood clots, but concluded the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.

“We can now say we take this very seriously. We’ve looked at it. Now let’s get back to getting people vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, said on ABC’s This Week.

A new ABC News poll shows that less than half of Americans see the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as safe and that 73% of those not yet vaccinated say they wouldn’t take a J&J shot.

Located at 11380 NW 27th Ave., the Miami Dade College operates seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is planned to remain open until May 26.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.