Triad health departments continue administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines after adverse reactions reported; doctors say reactions are normal


Local health departments are not stopping the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but people working at the clinics will be spending more time talking with people about the shots.

Triad doctors say the reactions that people reported are normal, especially if someone is scared of needles or didn’t eat or drink enough before their appointment.

At UNC-Greensboro, the one dose COVID-19 vaccination option has been distributed for two full days.

The news of the adverse reactions did not stop the line of people coming out of the Elliot University Center for their Johnson & Johnson shot.

People told FOX8 they believed the benefits outweighed the risks.

“I was a little bit nervous at first, but I know that they wouldn’t just give people vaccines if they weren’t sure that it would at least help a bit,” UNCG junior Victoria Puryear said.

Health leaders across the Piedmont Triad put out statements all day Friday, saying that the COVID-19 vaccines are tested, safe and effective.

They’re also letting people know that the CDC analyzed the reactions reported during the Johnson & Johnson vaccinations in four states and did not find any safety issues or reasons for concern.

“I feel like if it had been a bit more severe, maybe I would be nervous,” said Anna Holt, who got her shot on Friday. “Reading about the people’s symptoms, it felt worth the risk, I guess, for me.”

Staff at the UNCG campus stood ready to answer any questions.

“I had a conversation with one of the people [at the clinic,” freshman William Matthews said. “[They said] it’ll hurt for a bit and maybe I’ll get something in a day or two, but it will probably go away after that.”

In Forsyth County, the health director, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Novant Health held a morning media briefing about the vaccine, before teaming up to distribute more than 8,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson this upcoming weekend at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds and Hanes Mall.

“We are already 100% booked,” said Joshua Swift, the public health director.

They know people have concerns, and their fears will likely be higher.

“With what happened [Thursday], in our world of social media and the news and everything, it can get blown up to where we create more anxiety,” said Dr. Rich Lord, with Wake Forest Baptist Health.

“We’re all very adept about having conversations on how safe the vaccine is,” said Dr. Ashley Perrott, with Novant Health.

In Davidson County, more than 300 shots of the J&J vaccine went into people’s arms in March, with no adverse reactions.

County health leaders are reassuring everyone that there may be some risks, but some of the side effects are normal.

“These have been described as fainting and dizziness and it’s a known reaction to any vaccine,” Lord said.

FOX8 is told that people should drink water, eat food, and relax before getting their shots, to help avoid adverse reactions.

Health department leaders added they’ve distributed thousands of Johnson & Johnson vaccines before, and they’ve seen very few reactions.

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