Roanoke leaders fear Johnson & Johnson vaccine halt will stop others from pursuing vaccination


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — All Johnson & Johnson vaccinations are on hold in the Commonwealth, following a recommendation from the CDC and FDA, but Roanoke leaders are encouraging people to still get vaccinated.

Health officials are investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred six to 13 days after their vaccinations.

With regard to the investigation, Dr. Cynthia Morrow — the Director of Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts — said, “I think the most important thing is one if it does turn out to be associated with the vaccine it is extremely rare. And two, for me as a public health official what this says is that our system works.”

The cases being investigated are out of millions of dosages nationally.

“It’s very reassuring that we have a system in place to at least bring to light any potential complication,” Dr. Morrow continued.

Locations distributing the vaccine are only giving out the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for now.

Pilgrim Baptist Church has been distributing vaccines since vaccination efforts began, including some dosages of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Pastor Dwight Steele, Sr., who also runs a funeral home, says while the halt could deter some people, he has to do something after servicing many who had passed because of the virus.

According to Steele, “I can’t even count, it’s been a very large, large, large number.”

Steele has 1,500 members in his congregation here and he says they’re like family, which is why he still wants them to get vaccinated.

“I would not ask my parishioners or even anybody in this community to do anything that I had not done myself,” the pastor said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Morrow continues to encourage people to get their vaccines.

“I think it’s really important for us to know that Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are still available,” Dr. Morrow said. “We have not, despite having administered hundreds of millions of doses, we have not seen any significant complications associated with those vaccines.”

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