TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – The FEMA vaccination site in Tampa is seeing a huge decrease in the number of people coming to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine resumed administration on Sunday after a 10-day pause that was initiated due to six women in the U.S. developing blood clots post-vaccination. As of 3 p.m. Monday, the FEMA site at the Tampa Greyhound Track had only administered 206 Johnson & Johnson vaccines, down from more than 1,600 vaccines on April 12.READ MORE: Colonial Pipeline returns to 'normal operations' after restart
Holly Hollingsworth, a FEMA spokesperson, says “There was an enthusiastic reaction to Johnson & Johnson before the pause. We had hoped that same enthusiasm would remain.” But that hope didn’t turn into reality. “It’s been slower that we had hoped.”
Rachel Irby, an infectious disease doctor at Largo Medical Center says, “We’ve sort of gone through the people who were excited about getting the vaccine, and now we are into a second group of people who aren’t opposed to it, just a little more hesitant.”
University of South Florida professor of public health practice, Marissa Levine, says “What we don’t want to happen now is a decrease in demand and there does seem to be that on the heels of the initial Johnson & Johnson pause.”READ MORE: Disney World changes mask requirements for guests
Dr. Irby, says there was already vaccine hesitancy, but the pause made things worse. “Even though in the big scheme of things, it’s really not a big deal, it was just enough to make people think twice about it.” She says severe side effects are very rare with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and it is still safe for people to get, adding “No vaccine is perfect, just like the Johnson & Johnson it’s not perfect, but it’s safer than getting Coronavirus for sure.”
Levine says there are consequences for not getting vaccinated. “The longer we delay, the more possibilities for these variants to take root and we can’t predict what new variants will look like.”
Both experts say if you are debating on whether or not to get vaccinated, you should get your questions answered by a medical professional. FEMA officials say they hope to see the number of people getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine increase over the next few weeks.MORE NEWS: Smoke Fills The Air In South Tampa From A Controlled Burn On A Job Site Fire
Now that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is back out, officials are asking patients their age and if they are female, then following up with more questions to make sure that vaccine is right for that person.