COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts says the pause in the distribution of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will cause the city to be short 7,000 doses.
“We have approximately 7,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson on hand right now, which we were prepared to give out this week and the remainder of next week, so we’re going to be short 7,000 vaccine as of right now, so we’ll try to make that up with getting more Pfizer,” Roberts said.
Three thousand people were scheduled to get the J&J vaccine at the city’s vaccine clinic at the Ohio State Fairgrounds on Tuesday. CPH alerted them to the pause and their plan to give them the first dose of the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine instead.
Roberts said 250 of those 3,000 scheduled canceled their appointment immediately after the announcement.
“I don’t know why [they canceled] — if they were adamant to get the J&J and didn’t want another vaccine, or just had some general skepticism about the vaccines in general,” she said.
According to Ohio Department of Health data, 35% of people in Franklin County have received a vaccination. Roberts said she is concerned the pause will slow that progress.
“I am concerned that this is going to slow us down in getting individuals vaccinated in our community,” Roberts said. “We will now have less vaccine available to those who want and need this vaccine by removing one brand off of the market.”
It definitely will slow the progress that we’ve been making here in Franklin County, here in Ohio, and really across the nation by removing this product as one of the options that individuals have.Dr. Mysheika Roberts
Columbus Public Health Commissioner
Roberts emphasized to the public that there are still two other vaccine options available, and the adverse reactions experienced by a small percentage of people to the J&J vaccine do not affect its efficacy.
“Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe vaccines. They’re made on a different format, than the J&J vaccine. And the observations that have been observed with the J&J vaccine has not been observed with individuals who received the Moderna nor the Pfizer vaccine,” she said.
“The efficacy of the vaccine has not changed whatsoever. So the vaccine is still effective at preventing or reducing your chances of getting COVID-19 and preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. So this is a adverse event that has happened after getting the vaccine but is not making any impact on the efficacy of the vaccine,” Roberts said.