Will new complications with the J&J vaccination make Hoosiers hesitant for vaccination?

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine officially on hold following health concerns from rare blood clots, both Hoosiers and local health experts fear it could make people hesitant to get vaccinated.

“These kinds of news of stories don’t help convince people that these vaccines are safe,” explains Dr. Brian Dixon, Director of Public Health Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute, “What we’re finding out right now is are their special populations for whom the vaccines may put them at a slightly higher risk of a condition? That is not necessarily fatal.”

Dixon says what we are seeing with the J&J vaccine is simply the scientific process playing out in real time. So far six women have come down with rare blood clots in relation to the vaccine. Given the small number of cases, experts at the institute believe it is likely their reactions are not related to the vaccine. Regardless, the Federal Drug Administration is pulling the plug until more research is done.

Moving forward the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) max vaccination site will switch to the Moderna vaccine. It’s left some Hoosiers to decide how to proceed with their vaccinations.

“I was still willing to get that vaccine if it was offered to me,” says Emma Mahern who found out about the J&J situation just before her IMS vaccination appointment, “I grew up with a nurse as a mom who gave H1N1 shots, so I was ready to get it.”

“I don’t see people going back [to the J&J vaccine] unless it’s proven to be 100% safe,” says Mark Tinsley who will be getting his vaccination on Friday, “Definitely my boss and co-worker were going to get J&J, and they backed out.”

“As far as that Johnson & Johnson one goes, I am going to steer away from that,” adds Alicia Robinson who will be getting her vaccine sometime before she returns to school at Indiana University Bloomington, “I’m fearful about it because of the whole situation in general and it being brand new.”

“I hope most people get it, and everyone can get it. That would be great,” wishes Eduardo Luna who already has his first of two shots complete.

The Regenstrief Institute says overall Indiana, and the United States, are doing well when it comes to vaccinations. The latest numbers show Indiana has more than 26% percent of Hoosiers vaccinated.

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