Clinics change course to cover appointments after Georgia pauses Johnson & Johnson shots

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The decision to pause Johnson & Johnson vaccinations forced clinics across the metro area and the state to shift gears.

The Georgia Department of Public Health announced it would follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation of pausing the vaccine “out of an abundance of caution.”

“I just want the one and done. That’s all I want,” Phyllis Stovell told Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik.

Stovell had an appointment at the East Lake YMCA to get her J&J vaccine until she got a text telling her she would get the Pfizer instead.

“I came out here and said too many people are having blood clots so they’re cancelling it right away.”

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

The Georgia Department of Public Health issued a notice to inform people about the J&J pause and asked for patience from those who were scheduled to get it.

Health experts say they want to investigate six cases of people developing a rare blood clotting issue after getting the J&J shot. None of those cases are in Georgia.

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So far, the state said that 124,000 Georgians already received the vaccine safely. That accounts for about 2% of all vaccines administered across Georgia thus far.

Mark Sykes also stopped to get the J&J shot Tuesday, but he was OK with getting what he believed was a safer option.

“I would prefer the one shot, but would do two,” he said. “Better safe than sorry.”

[LINK: Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia]

“I believe it was a good call from the CDC and the FDA to put this halt on there what we try to learn more,” said Sam Archbold.

Archbold is with CORE, the non-profit putting on mobile clinics. He said when they got the call about J&J pause, they immediately pivoted to Pfizer.

“It’s certainly not any convenient. But I’m just very pleased with how our teams were able to rise to the occasion, our partners were able to just respond with us to this.”

CORE had several more clinics scheduled this week at other locations across DeKalb County. The group had anticipated giving out about 650 J&J vaccines Tuesday alone. They will now switch to Pfizer only the rest of the week.

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