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Public, vaccination sites adjust due to Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine vials, March 6, 2021
Posted at 3:43 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 17:13:09-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Some disruption is expected this week as local pharmacies and pop-up sites that were ready to issue the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine now have to transition to Pfizer or Moderna instead.

28 million more doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are going to states, according to white house officials…

J&J appointments are getting canceled at local pharmacies. Publix had to shift its scheduling Wednesday for only Moderna vaccines. And now there’s a sudden increase in demand for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

"We tried to steer them to whatever was available but they only wanted J&J," said Robin Kolodny of Boynton Beach.

Every day, Kolodny spends hours on her tablet and computer to help people all over South Florida find a vaccine appointment.

She’s one of many volunteers helping people through the South Florida COVID-19 Vaccine Information Facebook group and she says for the last few weeks all people wanted was J&J appointments.

"And now they are scrambling and they’re going to have to take something else they don't have a choice," Kolodny said.

On Wednesday, Publix opened appointments only for Moderna and made more appointments available in certain counties including palm beach around 2 p.m. Usually on Wednesdays, J&J appointments are posted.

The FDA and CDC issued a joint statement saying the J&J vaccine administration is on a pause after six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed rare blood clot disorders, with one dying.

Chief medical advisor to the president Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s more likely that it will be days and weeks before the CDC and FDA make a decision, Rather than weeks and months.

Still, that means for the foreseeable future, those who were holding out for J&J hots have a decision to make.

Kolodny says there a few reasons why people she helped get appointments only wanted J&J.

"They only wanted to go once or their doctor told them they should get J&J for some medical reason," Kolodny said.