Onondaga County Suspends J&J Vaccine, Residents Nervous County Suspends Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, Sparks Anxiety Among Residents

REPORTER: Tensions are rising among the local population of Onondaga County after County Executive Ryan McMahon paused the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this morning. Jack Bodette, a sophomore at Syracuse University, is now worried about his well-being after receiving the single-dose shot.

BODETTE: I would say yes, I’m definitely worried. I mean imagine making it through the entire pandemic, [you finally] get a vaccine, and next thing you know you’re dead.

REPORTER: Lisa Sandson, the daughter of 2 doctors, specifically opted to not get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine even when it was available:

SANDSON: My parents are both doctors who both got Pfizer, who told me if I had a choice I should get Pfizer because it was the most reliable model of the vaccine, and now I could not be more happy that I chose to get Pfizer.

REPORTER: Onondaga County will continue to roll out Pfizer vaccines, as County Executive Ryan McMahon still hopes to boost the county’s vaccination rate from 55% to 70%, the number needed to achieve herd immunity. Niko Benelli, NCC News.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Federal health officials put forth a recommendation Tuesday morning to halt the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, yielding apprehension and anxiety among local residents. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon took the recommendation in stride, suspending the use of the J&J vaccine within the county shortly after it was made.

“Out of an abundance of caution we will pause the use of J&J until we hear from the CDC and the FDA,” McMahon said in a press release this morning.

Of the 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines administered within the United States, many were used in Onondaga County throughout the weekend at the Syracuse Fairgrounds, Oncenter, and Barnes Center vaccination sites. However, Federal health authorities are yet to be alerted of any anomalies or blood clotting cases from within the county.

Jack Bodette, a Syracuse University student and a recent recipient of the J&J vaccine, did not take the news of the vaccine getting suspended lightly:

“With all this new news I’m definitely worried. Imagine making it through the entire pandemic, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, getting a vaccine, and next thing you know you’re dead,” said a flustered Bodette.

Despite pausing the J&J vaccine, there will be no shortage of vaccines in the county, as both Pfizer and Moderna shots are readily available. Anyone scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine should keep their appointment, as they will be given either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine instead. Furthermore, Lisa Sandson, whose parents are both doctors, said they had already favored her receiving the Pfizer shot over the J&J one.

“My parents had closely followed the making and release of the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines in Europe, and after them having a low success rate and being recalled multiple times, they opted to receive the Pfizer vaccine,” said Sandson.

County Executive Ryan McMahon believes that 55% of adults in Onondaga County have either been fully vaccinated or have received their first dose. Vaccination clinics will be open in Syracuse at the Oncenter and at the Fairgrounds for the remainder of the week in order to boost that number closer to 70%, the number which is believed to be needed to achieve herd immunity.

For more information on Covid-19 in Onondaga County, visit the Covid-19 dashboard.

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