Pause of single-dose J&J shots unlikely to have a major impact on Hawaii vaccination efforts

Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:02 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has stopped administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine amid a federal “pause,” but that’s unlikely to have a big impact on Hawaii vaccination efforts.

On Maui, District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang said vaccine clinics that were to offer the vaccine will instead offer Moderna.

The CDC and FDA are investigating reports of rare but potentially dangerous cases of blood clots in six people who got the J&J vaccine.

More than seven million Johnson & Johnson shots have been administered in the US.

“It’s very rare. I’d be surprised if we see anything at all in Hawaii,” Pang said. “I still feel the benefits far outweigh the risks.”

The Hawaii Health Department says it has received about 47,600 J&J vaccines and administered about 17,808 so far.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was appealing to rural communities because it was just one dose and it’s easier to store.

Wailuku resident John Moses got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Maui last month.

He said it went well for him.

“Nothing, I had nothing. No pain. I felt good right afterwards,” said Moses. “I was hoping that they would have more of the Johnson & Johnson because a lot of people rather have the one shot as opposed to the two shots.”

State Health Department officials said there are no reports of anyone in the islands developing blood clots, but it is stopping the shots out of an abundance of caution.

“This is a setback for us,” said Hawaii Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “But we still really, really want to get people vaccinated to be protected for themselves and also protect their families.”

With the approximately 30,000 doses waiting to be released, Char said the small shipments of Johnson and Johnson aren’t enough to be a big disruption but were part of the plan for remote areas.

“We were trying to use the Johnson and Johnson in situations where it would be harder to get to somebody for a second dose or to get the appointment and set them up or transportation issues,” Char said.

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