GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — The recommended suspension of the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination is complicating things for local health departments in West Michigan, who are racing to vaccinate people in the middle of a third COVID-19 surge.
“It’s frustrating. When we had all three vaccines that were readily available..it was the fuel we needed,” Kalamazoo County Public Health Director Jim Ruthford said.
Although frustrating, Kalamazoo County has been able to fill appointments by using the Pfizer vaccine, of which there have been no complications.
This all comes after six women experienced blood clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. One has died, and another is in critical condition. Health officials caution people not to panic. So far, around 7 million people have already gotten the Johnson & Johnson shot.
“Certainly we need to do a bit more review on it. A bit more analysis. And see, is this blood clot disorder related to the vaccine? Or is it an incidental finding, not related to the vaccine?” Chief Medical Officer of Metro Health University of Michigan Ronald Grifka said.
Health officials across hospital systems all say they are anxiously waiting to hear more about the circumstances surrounding the blood clots, explaining that they are not at this time directly linked as a result of the vaccine.
“There’s probably no vaccines that have been more scrutinized in vaccine development than these specific vaccines,” Spectrum Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Liam Sulluvan said.
Dr. Liam Sulluvan got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine himself, and like a vast majority of people has experienced no issues. Of the more than 4,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines administered by Spectrum, they have noticed zero complications.
There remains plenty of supply at the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic of the Pfizer vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer shots are both a different type of vaccination entirely.