FGCU medical expert weighs in on Johnson and Johnson vaccine

The head of the Physician Assistant Program says this could make it more difficult for some people to get vaccinated.
Posted at 2:13 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 02:13:26-04

ESTERO, Fla. — WFTX spent some time asking the director of FGCU's Physician Assistant program for some perspective on the decision to hold off on giving the J & J vaccine to more Americans right now.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

WFTX: What's your initial take on this call to pause the administration of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in our country?

BOB HAWKES/HEAD OF FGCU PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM: So, the CDC has noticed there is a number of increased cases of potential blood clots. There have been about 6.8 million vaccines administered by Johnson and Johnson. There have been 6 reported cases, of what's happening that develop as a blood clot in the brain. So right now, they're trying to make a correlation. Is that part of the vaccine, a potential side effect? Or is that not related at all. So, while this investigation is going on, Johnson and Johnson and the CDC have determined, let's pause the vaccine. Let's not administer any more right now.

WFTX: For those who've already received the vaccine. and might be wondering, "Is a blood clot forming right now,?" what would you tell them?

BOB HAWKES/HEAD OF FGCU PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM: So, what they've shown is the blood clot, all six cases were women, between the ages of 18 and 48. And it occurred between 16 and 13 days after received their initial vaccine. So almost up to two weeks. So that's kind of the piece we've been looking at. It doesn't mean that men can't get it. It's that all six cases have involved women.>

WFTX: Are there any symptoms that people should be checking to see they're noticing after they've received this vaccine?

BOB HAWKES/HEAD OF FGCU PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM: So, the symptoms to look out for would be a severe headache, shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain, significant leg pain, anything that feels out of the ordinary. If you feel you have those symptoms, you're recommended to seek an emergency department or call your emergency, call your health care provider.>

WFTX: How would this affect um, the goal, to get as many people vaccinated who want to be?

BOB HAWKES/HEAD OF FGCU PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM: So certainly, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was very appealing, because people could only get one shot, so we're not in essence taking a third, of potential vaccines out of circulation. It certainly may limit the number of people that are going to be getting the vaccine.>

WFTX: What does that mean for them to pause it? What is the implication?

BOB HAWKES/HEAD OF FGCU PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM So those that have been distributed, they're still going to be distributed to the locations. But they're not going to actually be injected into the patients. So, they're not going to be administering it. They're going to continue with the Pfizer and the Moderna, but not Johnson and Johnson, while they're going to be doing more work to determine if these blood clots are a side effect from this vaccine administration.