State Health Officer says no problems with J&J vaccine in Alabama

Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 8:21 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Several COVID-19 vaccine clinics have had to shut down in at least four states after people had adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine leading some to wonder about the safety of the shot.

State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, said the Alabama Department of Public Health has been monitoring the situation.

He said it’s not yet clear what’s behind those adverse reactions.

But so far, no side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been reported in Alabama.

Georgia joins the list with North Carolina, Iowa, and Colorado pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccines after several people had adverse reactions to the shot.

“I’ve heard from officials in Georgia and in North Carolina that they don’t really believe that this is actually an allergic reaction like we’ve seen with some of the other vaccines,” said Dr. Harris.

He said the symptoms reported in those states were varied and non-specific, like nausea and headaches.

He believes states were acting out of an abundance of caution to ensure there wasn’t a bigger issue.

“We’re well aware of the true allergic reactions that go on with an MRNA like Pfizer and Moderna, particularly in people that have a history of serious allergies with or anaphylaxis. That’s not an issue with J & J as far as anybody knows,” Dr. Harris explained.

Dr. Harris recommends doing your research before getting any vaccine and talking to your doctor to help you decide which one is best for you.

“We have a lot more reports of allergy related things from the other products than we do from J & J, but of course we also knew that was coming because of the information that was discovered in the phase 3 trials that were done when they first got authorized,” Dr. Harris said.

“We have not had any issues reported to us here in Alabama. We continue to use J & J and don’t have any plans to change that at the moment,” he explained.

Dr. Harris said the state is expecting to get more of the J & J vaccine in the coming weeks, although those shipments will most likely be low due to that manufacturing mix-up a couple of weeks ago.

He remains positive about the J & J vaccine saying it has less allergic reactions, it’s easy to store, and of course…it’s just one shot.

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