Raleigh, N.C. — Health experts are concerned the halt in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will affect vaccination efforts in North Carolina – especially in communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
There is concern the pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could create a full stop on some people deciding to get vaccinated.
“It really is concerning to see something happen that could undermine the community trust in vaccines,” said Jessica Dixon, WakeMed Infection Prevention Specialist.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was particularly helpful in getting certain populations vaccinated, as it only required one dose – useful for those who do not like needles or who found it difficult to travel for a vaccine. It was also helpful in vaccinating populations like migrant workers or people in prison, according to Halifax County Health Director Bruce Robistow.
“There is a good chance they may not be here in 28 days for the second dose,” said Robistow.
It isn’t just the demand for the J & J vaccine that has declined in Halifax County, he said. Overall demand has gone down for all vaccines.
“There is misinformation, there is doubt,” he said.
Dixon stresses that it’s important the doubt and misinformation does not spread.
“Your risk of death from COVID is considerably greater than your risk of this one particular negative outcome related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” she said.
Health officials say the vaccination effort is crucial – especially with new COVID cases and hospitalizations continuing to rise in the state.