Communities across the U.S. are suddenly revamping their vaccination campaigns to adjust to an indefinite halt in Johnson & Johnson’s doses, which has required officials to reschedule tens of thousands of appointments as they seek to reassure people that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
Health professionals are split on whether the delay should continue. On the one hand, the blood-clotting syndrome that led to the pause in J&J vaccinations is serious and can be deadly. Conversely, with J&J doses out of circulation, that means fewer people are getting immunized even as fast-spreading COVID variants are tightening their grip, and concern about the J&J shots risks expanding vaccine hesitancy.
Hospitals, pharmacies and health departments are clambering to vaccinate people who were scheduled to receive J&J shots this week. Some key initiatives that relied on the one-shot vaccine like those reaching homebound seniors or pop-up clinics are being halted altogether. Officials are trying to answer questions and combat safety worries from an already skeptical public.