J&J vaccine put on hold, Pa. officials address vaccine hesitancy

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — More than 200,000 Pennsylvanians have gotten the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and more were scheduled to — but those shots are now on pause as fatalities are investigated.

So what does this mean for the commonwealth?

The state proudly touted this Harrisburg clinic, putting Johnson and Johnson shots in arms on Monday.

By Tuesday, all J&J vaccines were paused in Pa.

Proof, health officials say, that safety is a top priority.

“People should feel more confident that we are scrutinizing this process so closely, more closely than we’ve ever done with any other process like this,” said Dr. Denise Johnson, acting Pa. Physician General.

Six cases in more than six million doses are statistically insignificant. Only 5% of vaccinated Pennsylvanians got the J&J shot including more than 100,000 teachers and 20,000 inmates and correctional officers.

Pfizer and Moderna are safe, the health secretary insists.

“This process is monitored so tightly and with such integrity that folks really can trust in the vaccine they are getting,” Acting Pa. Health Secretary Alison Beam.

Lebanon Nurse Melanie Rolon has trust issues.

“We don’t know, we just don’t know the long-term effects of this particular vaccine from any vendor,” Rolon said.

Melanie believes companies went from studying, to sticking, too quickly. She’s a hard pass.

“I don’t feel at this point there’s enough long-term, evidence-based practice for me to submit to that at this point or my family,” Rolon said.

The state knows there are lots of Melanies out there and pausing one of the vaccines gives more of them pause.

“Of course we are concerned about hesitancy, we have been very clear on our concern that we have to make sure we get the critical mass of Pennsylvanians vaccinated, so again, we can go on the offense,” Beam said.

Symptoms in the six cases included severe headache, abdominal pain and leg pain. If an individual has those, officials say seek help immediately. 

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