GREENFIELD — After a last minute pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two weeks ago, a vaccine clinic that distributes the vaccine to patients is back up and running at a small pharmacy in Greenfield.
The first two days brought in upwards of 70 Hoosiers to get vaccinated.
“It feels so fantastic to be able to be a part of protecting our community against the Coronavirus,” Dr. Riley Warner, staff pharmacist and Clinical Program Director at Greenfield Medicap Pharmacy, said.
A steady stream of Hoosiers came to the Greenfield pharmacy on Wednesday after the original clinic of 200 J&J COVID-19 vaccine appointments had to be canceled following the announcement from the FDA and CDC to halt the use of that vaccine due to rare, but serious blood clots.
“We’ve really just been trying to educate people and I ask are you aware of the side effects and anyone that’s been awake has given me the answer that yes,” Warner said.
Before the pause, Warner said the 200 appointments “were all filled up” within a day. After the pause, those 200 appointments were not taken as quickly.
“I would say our spots have been filling up more slowly this time and whether that’s because people don’t want the Johnson and Johnson vaccine or maybe they’ve gotten another vaccine in the meantime, it’s hard to say,” Warner said.
Chara and Burke Riedman got their appointments Tuesday night.
“It was a pleasant surprise. We were going to try to go to the Speedway downtown, but it was available here and we live less than five miles away,” Chara said.
The Greenfield couple said they have put in extensive research before signing up to get vaccinated -- especially since Chara is pregnant.
“[We] weighed the pros and cons and had heard from other specialist that Johnson and Johnson is not as terrible as it seems,” Burke said. Chara added, “[We] had a lot of guidance from my doctors and just the explanation of how rare the side effects are.”
“We know the risk of hospitalization of dying from this disease is so much higher than the risk of developing a blood clot from this Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” Thomas Duszynski, Director of Epidemiology Education at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, said.
Across the board, he added vaccination rates are falling.
WRTV reporter Nikki DeMentri asked: “Did the pause hurt, though, the vaccine rollout here in Indiana?”
Duszynski responded: “I think it definitely slowed it down and gave people time to think should I participate, or it may have provided an excuse for some.”
Still the message from health experts remains the same: get vaccinated.
“The revised mask wearing protocols for vaccinated versus unvaccinated should be an indication that getting vaccinated really accelerates our process to get out of the pandemic,” Duszynski said.
The 200-appointment clinic at Medicap Pharmacy extends through Friday and picks up again on Monday. Appointments are still available on the state’s website.
Warner said another 200 doses of Johnson & Johnson are on the way and she hopes more clinics are to come.
“It’s really just doing what we think is best,” Burke said. Chara added, “I want to be able to look back at on my pregnancy and know I did everything I could to protect myself and my family.”