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J&J recipients, health experts respond to temporary halt of vaccine

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:08 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 7:39 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Health leaders in Pima County are reassuring the public that although Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being temporarily halted, both Moderna and Pfizer remain very safe options. The announcement came after the U.S. called a temporary halt of J&J vaccines Tuesday, April 13, over blood clot concerns.

Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, an associate professor of immunobiology at the University of Arizona, said there’s about a one in a million chance a person develops blood clots from the vaccine.

“I think it would be a lot more problematic if the CDC and the FDA didn’t tell us,” Bhattacharya said. “I think that’s the kind of thing that can really reduce trust.”

He said the agencies will investigate and see if certain groups of people are at higher risk.

“We are seeing the same thing in the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which hasn’t been approved yet in the U.S. so it does seem like there might be something going on,” he said.

Some Tucsonans, who had already received the single dose shot, voiced concerns.

“If I could get the vaccine withdrawn from my body, I would do it in a heartbeat,” said Denise Taylor, a J&J vaccine recipient.

Taylor said she was wary about getting the vaccine in the first place but finally got her shot Sunday, April 11.

“I don’t like hearing, ‘Don’t worry about it, watch for body signs.’ I find that more frightening than anything else,” she said.

The news hit a bit close to home for those in the age range of the women with the rare blood clots. Shandra Kelly-Baker said she received J&J one week ago.

“Some of the anti-cancer meds I’m on can cause blood clots as well so I’m a little bit scared,” Kelly-Baker said.

The Pima County Health Department said out of an abundance of caution it has paused the use of J&J but urges people to continue getting vaccinated.

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