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Community reacts to pause on usage of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

State vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula says the will equate to a nearly 100,000 dose...
State vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula says the will equate to a nearly 100,000 dose reduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine starting next week which will most affect vaccine appointments over the next several weeks.(NBC12)
Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As the usage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused, doctors say the risk of complications is low for most people but advise paying attention to changes in your body if you received the vaccine within the last three weeks.

“If you’ve had the vaccine more than a month ago, your risk is incredibly low,” explained NBC News Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. John Torres. “If you’ve had it in the last three weeks, be aware of changes in your body, especially if you develop a headache, shortness of breath and pain in your legs or abdomen, contact your doctor.”

Courteney Stuart is among the nearly 7 million people who have gotten the J&J vaccine and says she is not panicking hearing the latest news.

“It’s not the news you want to hear, but I am not overly panicking - I am considering calling my doctor. I think the age range is females between 18 to 48 - I am 49, so I am not in that window, but I am pretty close,” she said. “I am not panicking because the number of cases they are reporting, I think it is six out of 6 million people, it puts it at a rate of one in a million.”

Stuart says she only had slight arm soreness from the single-dose shot at the Richmond Raceway. She was a part of an AstraZeneca vaccine trial but learned she had been a part of the placebo group.

“That’s why I thought, let me go ahead and sign up for the Johnson & Johnson. I could have signed up for Moderna or Pfizer or all of those options, but the idea of having one shot and being done really appealed to me,” said Stuart.

Ricky Everington received the vaccine in Charlottesville Monday, his fever breaking Tuesday morning. That is also when he learned about the issues with the vaccine.

“In hindsight, maybe I would have gotten one of the two-shot vaccines,” said Everington. “I was definitely a little paranoid, and definitely did some research right away.”

Everington says the research he was able to do, helped ease some of the concerns about complications.

“[I] want to learn more as they try to find out more about it,” he said.

Stuart feels it was the right decision to pause usage to get important safety questions answered.

“I do think it is also appropriate to pause and take a look at what is happening here, did the vaccine cause this? Did more people have the side effects than reported? I think they [should] look into it because I don’t think you want to be continuing something until you know what the risks are and how that may be impacting people,” said Stuart.

VDH released the following statement about the vaccine production halt:

“This pause is reassuring in that it demonstrates that the systems that are in place to monitor vaccine safety are working. We look forward to a thorough review by federal health officials,” VDH said in a statement.

VDH says anyone who had an appointment at one of the four upcoming vaccine events in the Richmond-Henrico Health District should call the RHHD call center at (804-205-3501). Those who had an appointment at one of these clinics will instead be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, so please arrive at your scheduled appointment time.

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