Worcester still has confidence in Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

WORCESTER — The city of Worcester still has full faith in the one shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, as the CDC is reviewing its safety.

This week, the CDC ordered a halt to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six people who received it, later developed blood clots.

“We are waiting to hear what their conclusion was about these six women who had the blood clots. And what are the risk factors they had to get the blood clot. And if it was at all related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Dr. Matilde Castiel, the City’s Commissioner of Health and Human Services, told me.

Worcester is one of 19 communities taking part in the State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative which makes COVID-19 vaccines accessible to vulnerable communities that are historically hesitant to receive vaccines.

Until now, the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was ideal for the program, as it allowed many people to quickly be vaccinated against coronavirus.

On Saturday, an estimated 1,000 people showed up at a city-sponsored, walk-in clinic at the YMCA.

The shot administered was Johnson & Johnson.

Dr. Castiel told me the city is continuing its equity program with the Pfizer vaccine.

The city’s unused supply of 1,100 vials of Johnson & Johnson are now in storage, ready to be used when the CDC gives it the green light.

Until then, Dr. Castiel said the biggest issue is making sure there is enough COVID-19 vaccine to go around.

“Overall, people in the community are taking what you give them. So, if we say all three shots are comparable, then people want the vaccine,” Dr. Castiel said.

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