J & J vaccine reactions not a big concern for many in need of the shot

CUMMING, Ga. — Doctors and health experts continue to be cautious as they hear reports of potential reactions to COVID-19 vaccines around the country.

This week, one site in Forsyth County was temporarily closed as were sites in Colorado and North Carolina after some people had a reaction to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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Of the 425 people who received the shot at the Cumming Fairgrounds location, eight had a reaction to getting it. None of the reactions were serious, but it was enough to get the county health director to pause the injections.

Dave Palmer of the North Georgia Health District said one person had to go to the hospital but that person was later released.

“We don’t think it’s anything with the vaccine, it’s probably more environmental factors,” said Palmer.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Matt Johnson asked Palmer what the Health Department believes caused the problems. Health experts believe the warmer weather on Wednesday combined with the barn-like building where the shots took place may have been a factor.

The District plans to continue use of the vaccine but at a different site out of an abundance of caution.

“We’ll probably do it at a place where we have more temperature control, and can control temperature more. But we will continue to use the J&J vaccine,” Palmer said.

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Johnson spoke to George Sandler who said he’s had no effects at all from the vaccine after getting the shot Wednesday in South Georgia. Sandler, a musician, said he was back to playing gigs a day later.

The musician says he had no concerns about getting the Johnson and Johnson shot and wasn’t worried it got put on pause in Forsyth County because of how some people reacted.

“I think just like the COVID itself, I think it’s very individualized, you’re gonna have people who have reactions to it,” said Sandler.

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According to the health officials, nearly 313,000 people in the state have gotten the Johnson & Johnson shot so far with 118 reporting side effects to the CDC. The most commonly reported effect is a headache.

Dr. Gary Voccio from the Northwest Georgia Public Health district says the vaccines have been rigorously tested. He and other officials continue to encourage anyone hesitant to get the shot, that is perfectly safe.

“It was not rushed out. It’s there very safe, minimal side effects. For all of them, the Moderna, the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, the shot can save your life,” said Voccio.