Vaccine skeptics on edge as Johnson and Johnson shot is paused

By Brianna Duncan
Staff Writer

Health officials on Tuesday declared that administering of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should be halted due to a rare blood clot found in 6 women who received it.

Approximately 6.8 million people in the United States have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, making such a strong side effect rare. The blood clot was identified in the brain as a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. The women also had low blood platelets.

According to the FDA, the pause in production will only last a few days. Still, the call to action has made skeptics of the COVID vaccine wearier.

Coady Lewis is a 25-year-old diabetic who is hesitant to get the vaccine. 

“I am pretty skeptical of the vaccines, I mean I ask my doctors their thoughts but as a diabetic sometimes shots shoot my sugar up,” explained Lewis. “I think getting a vaccine is a great thing, I just need to do some more research on it to feel comfortable and safe.” 

While the speed with which the vaccine was developed raises a red flag for some people, others are determined to reassure them.

“A ton of research has gone into making vaccines way before COVID. Researchers and scientists know what they are doing,” said Nicole Tyler, a future med student with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Troy, Alabama.

 “It’s understandable that people are concerned about the long-term side effects, but we also don’t know the long-term side effects of COVID. I just personally think the benefits outweigh the risks in this situation.”

For Johnson and Johnson, their poor rapport from scandals in the past has further damaged the trust in their company. They have faced heavy legal suits in relation to their baby powder and cancer. 

Maggie Lee is a college student on The University of Alabama’s campus. She is a sophomore who has only done online classes for the last year, refusing to step on campus in fear of getting herself or her loved ones sick.

“I am not skeptical about the vaccines at all, I have had my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. J&J’s history doesn’t bode well for them but I really try to do as much research as I can from multiple sources.” 

According to the FDA and the CDC, all six women had their symptoms a week to 13 days after getting their vaccine. Symptoms include sudden and severe headaches, abdominal pain, or shortness of breath, according to the CDC.

A White House spokesperson said earlier this week that this pause should not interfere with President Joe Biden’s goal of 200 million shots by the end of his first 100 days in office.