SWFL pharmacies and hospitals stop administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Posted at 7:48 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 19:48:25-04

FORT MYERS — We’ve learned Publix and Lee Health have stopped offering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday morning that six patients developed blood clots after receiving the shot, and one of them died.

We spoke with Sam Patel, the co-owner of Carrell Pharmacy in Fort Myers. He said they’ve administered about 100 Johnson & Johnson vaccines. He said it was the most popular shot with his patients, because you only need one.

Patel said, after he heard the news about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he got on the phone with people he gave the shot to.

"We’ve been calling some patients as soon as we get time to check on how they’re feeling, and none of them had the major side effects that they’re reporting in the news," said Patel.

The FDA has called for a pause on administering the vaccine for now, but Patel said, he’s not concerned.

"Six out of six, seven million is just one in a million, and that could happen to pretty much any vaccine out there in the market," said Patel.

But we also spoke with Gabriela Perez, who just got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two weeks ago. She’s not as confident.

"It affected a small amount of people, but I’m scared of what could potentially happen," said Perez.

Perez said, even if the Johnson & Johnson shot is re-approved, she thinks people are going to look elsewhere.

"I think that a lot of people are going to stray away from this vaccine, and they’ll probably go more toward the Moderna and Pfizer," said Perez.

Patel said he just hopes the news doesn’t keep people from avoiding COVID-19 vaccines altogether.

"You have your worries, you have your concerns, but you need to think the bigger picture to get vaccinated," said Patel.

In its call with the media Tuesday morning, the FDA said there will be a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Wednesday to discuss the plan moving forward. There’s not a timeline yet for when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be re-approved for use.