Some Tallahassee residents concerned about latest J&J vaccine warnings

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 9:09 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The FDA’s warning of a new rare side effect associated with the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is causing an impact on vaccination sites due to growing concerns.

While canvasing one local vaccination site, many people who have been vaccinated said J&J was never their first choice.

“I really didn’t feel comfortable with all of the prior history and research and cases that have come against Johnson and Johnson,” said resident Felicia Sparks.

Sparks said the efficacy rate of J&J also steered her away from the brand, which led her to decide on Pfizer. Another mother on campus, Michelle Spencer, said she’s witnessed a number of people get sick and some die from COVID-19. She knew she wanted to be vaccinated, but also said she could not settle her concerns with J&J.

“It has way too many issues, particularly with the FDA and all the warnings that are attached to it. Just completely would avoid that all together,” said Spencer.

Tanya Tatum runs the FAMU vaccination site and said the fear of possible J&J side effects has significantly impacted demand for the vaccine. However, the site has continued to keep this vaccine on hand because it is still requested by some.

“We do less of the Johnson and Johnson than the Pfizer and Moderna, however, we still have people that come and request it specifically,” Tatum said.

According to Tatum, the possibility of experiencing side effects are extremely rare, and the vaccine is still worth the minimal risk as protection against the virus. About 100 cases of the rare neurological disease have been reported out of 21 million doses of J&J administered.

One father on campus, Steven Ware, got the Johnson and Johnson shot in April. He said despite concerns and warnings against it now, he’s still content with his decision.

“I’m not a needle guy,” said Ware. “The one shot was kind of what I guess directed me toward that, and again, for me it’s been pretty much a positive experience.”

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