SAN ANTONIO – On Friday, U.S. health officials lifted an 11-day pause on COVID-19 vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel decided its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clot.
“I, myself, actually got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when it was still available towards the end of March, and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Alex Miller Mattingly, special projects team lead with Healthy Neighborhoods at Metro Health.
Mattingly is one of the thousands who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in San Antonio before it was paused due to reports of blood clotting.
“I had some mild side effects the day after, some soreness on my arm, felt a little tired, a little crummy, but that’s pretty normal,” Mattingly said.
While there have been no reported cases of clotting related to the J&J vaccine in San Antonio, the state is looking into one.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said the CDC notified it this week about a Texas woman who was hospitalized after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The agency did not provide additional details, citing patient privacy but said symptoms were consistent with other reported cases of blood clots.
“I think it’s possible that we’ll see more cases, and that has a lot to do with the fact that we’re now more aware that this is a possible, very rare side effect,” Mattingly said.
Metro Health said more than 25,000 people in Bexar County had gotten the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. It currently has more than 2,300 doses at the ready.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a less stringent storage requirement, so it’s able to stay refrigerated without going bad as fast as the Pfizer or Moderna. So, it’s possible that we’ll still be able to use those,” Mattingly said.
For those hesitant about getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Mattingly said there are other options -- the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available.
“It’s normal to feel hesitant, and you can definitely find more information by talking to a pharmacist or your primary care provider. But we’re confident that the vaccines are safe and they’re really effective at preventing severe disease, which is important in our community,” Mattingly said.