VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The sudden pause of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has created some fear in the COVID-19 vaccination process. Some local residents are not phased by the CDC's announcement, but others have decided to cancel or delay their scheduled vaccine appointments.
The recent rise in fear is centered around a rare blood clotting disorder. There have been six cases in the United States out of more than 6.8 million doses administered.
"This potential side effect is less than one in a million," Dr. Darren Brucken, the Vigo County Health Commissioner, said. "Don't let these anecdotal cases knock off peoples' confidence to get vaccinated."
All six cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48. Their symptoms developed six to 13 days after receiving the vaccination. The CDC cannot confirm yet if this is directly linked to the vaccine, but they are taking extra precautions to be safe.
Some local experts believe this decision is more costly beyond the surface. After the CDC made the announcement, many vaccine appointments across the country were canceled. Now, experts fear more people will be hesitant to get vaccinated.
That is my biggest concern, and public health, in general, is that there is going to be a wavering of confidence in the vaccination process," Dr. Brucken said. "To be flat out honest, that just cannot happen. The way through this pandemic, the way through this illness is through vaccination."
The CDC announced today that over 120 million Americans have at least the first dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Specifically, more than seven million Americans received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine before the sudden pause of vaccinations. The state of Indiana has administered nearly 129,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccines, while Illinois has administered nearly 290,000.
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Local health officials are emphasizing that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the costs, especially as local hospitalizations are on the rise again.
"The unvaccinated people are showing up in the emergency room, they are younger than what we have seen before, and they are sicker as well," he said. "Both hospitals have an uptick in their hospitalization rates, and most of them are showing up in intensive care units. Most of them are younger people or people who have chosen not to get vaccinated."
Dr. Brucken wants to remind the community that the only way to defeat this virus is through vaccines.
"The vaccination process works," he said. "People who are vaccinated, they stop getting sick, they stop going to the hospital, and they stop dying from the illness."
If you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available. Vigo County is now offering vaccinations for non-Vigo County residents, including residents of Illinois. To make an appointment, please click here.