COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus Public Health has the Johnson & Johnson vaccine back on its schedule after a “pause” on its distribution while the U.S. government investigated extremely rare blood clots.
Columbus Public Health has approximately 5,000 doses of the vaccine on hand. Director Dr. Mysheika Roberts said they do have some time to get those doses into arms before they go to waste.
“So, they expire more towards the middle and late May, so we’re not worried about them expiring,” Roberts said.
The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration paused the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 13 while it investigated rare blood clots associated with seven people who received the vaccine.
On Friday, it was approved to go back on the market.
“I was reassured this morning when we opened our doors here at the health department and we had people waiting to get the vaccine, whether it was Pfizer or J&J, so vaccine hesitancy is there, it exists, we have to recognize that and acknowledge that, but I do think the release of the pause is helping,” Roberts said of the first day the health department held walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
Columbus Public Health hasn’t received a shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine since the pause was announced. Roberts said this particular vaccine is still in high demand.
“I was just on a call with other health commissioners across the state of Ohio,” she said. “There’s a need for J&J vaccine across the state, so if we find ourselves in a position where we’ve been sitting on it too long, we can easily transport to someone else who had a need right away to use it.”
Columbus Public Health is open for walk-in vaccine appointments for both the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines at both its main office and the Celeste Center, but people can still register online as well.
“Pfizer and J&J, you can register for either one of them right now without any delay, so that’s the beauty of it,” Roberts said. “You can register and secure your date and time, or you can just show up.”
Roberts said Columbus Public Health makes its request for vaccine on Mondays. She expects to skip a request for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week and use the current batch on hand.
For more on the walk-in clinics or how to sign up for either shot, visit the Columbus Public Health website.