J&J vaccine paused, but Fairbanks vaccination efforts continue with Pfizer, Moderna

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 4:22 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Despite the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being halted, Fairbanks’ efforts to continue to vaccinating residents remains unaffected.

On April 13th, 2021, the State of Alaska along with the rest of the United States put a halt on the administering of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine after six women experienced a blood clotting condition. While an investigation into any possible connection to the J&J vaccine is conducted, Fairbanks continues on with Pfizer and Moderna.

According to Clint Brooks, Incident Commander for Unified Command of Interior Alaska, the J&J halt had very little impact on Fairbanks Public Health’s vaccination efforts. Brooks explained, “It really wasn’t that much of an impact logistically. The process of administering the vaccine is the same except for setting up the second appointment to receive the second vaccination. We just had to schedule that second clinic in order to support changing it to Pfizer from Johnson & Johnson; otherwise, really little impact.”

That isn’t to say that there weren’t any negatives to the halt on J&J. Brooks commented, “What we were hoping for with Johnson & Johnson is we had heard that people were waiting for Johnson & Johnson to become available for the convenience of just getting one shot, [and also] for people who didn’t want to receive mRNA type vaccines. We were hoping people were going to take advantage of Johnson & Johnson and were waiting for it to come out, so when we got enough allocation of Johnson & Johnson at the clinic we were hoping to see that big response.”

According to Brooks, future vaccination clinic events will also be unaffected. “As far as impacting further clinics, we have plenty of Pfizer vaccines. We’re still going to hold the number of clinics that we had planned, but using Pfizer. So, unless Johnson & Johnson gets cleared to come back and being able to utilize it, we’ll just continue to offer the vaccines that were allocated - and we have plenty of vaccines available.”

Brooks added that part of the success of the Public Health vaccination events is due to Fairbanks citizens who volunteer to help run the events.

“We’ve had an amazing response from our community here in Fairbanks. The volunteers that help us run the clinic, they’ve done a great job. Really we haven’t had a lack of volunteers to help us run the clinics, and so I think we’re in good shape now. So if people can just keep volunteering and doing their part to help get our community vaccinated, I think we’re in good shape,” said Brooks.

For more information on the Fairbanks Public Health vaccination events, or how to volunteer for future events, visit their website.

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