Local pharmacies bombarded with questions, concerns about J&J vaccine

Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:48 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Across the country, many people are seeking answers following Tuesday’s announcement from top medical officials to pause the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In South Mississippi, pharmacies say it was a busy day as people reached out to them with questions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that they were looking into unusual clots in six women between the ages of 18 and 48. One person died.

With concerns over blood clots following the vaccine, many people called pharmacies across the Coast to change their vaccination appointment or to cancel altogether.

”We have heard a lot of concerns from our patients with the recent news about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” said Sartin’s Discount Drug Pharmacist Adam Mixon.

Those who already got the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine were weary of potential side effects and called to ask about warning signs for a clot.

”Several people have had the vaccine already have called with concerns about the blood clots,” said Mixon. “So we have told them for up to three weeks after they have had the vaccine to watch out for headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath, and if they have any of those side effects, to call their healthcare provider.”

French Drug Company Pharmacist John Pittman is urging patience, stressing that more investigation is needed.

”There were six patients throughout the country who developed blood clots potentially from the Johnson and Johnson (vaccine). So they put a pause on administration for the time being until they could investigate further,” said Pittman.

Of the 1.4 million vaccines administered in the Magnolia State, the Mississippi State Health Department said about 42,000 people received the J&J vaccine with no or mild side effects.

Pittman emphasized that the number of people who reportedly suffered blood clots as a result of the vaccine is very small.

”The thing I’m telling people is it’s very rare. It’s six people out of seven million. So it’s not even a one in a million probability that this happens,” he said.

That same message was reiterated Tuesday afternoon by State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

“We have seen some folks that might have like a mild rash and we’ve seen some folks with swelling in the arm that resolves. But as far as any serious or life-threatening reactions, we have not seen any.”

In the meantime, the pharmacists are continuing to urge everyone to get Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and, for anyone with concerns, to talk to their physicians about their individual cases.

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