How the J&J vaccine pause is impacting vaccination efforts across Michigan

J&J vaccine was to be used in final 2 weeks of Ford Field mass vaccination site

DETROIT – Amid the current surge in COVID-19 cases Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has stood firm saying vaccines are going to be what gets us out of the pandemic.

She specifically referenced the importance of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to reach that goal.

Now with that vaccine off the table, will it change things moving forward?

Read: Tracking Metro Detroit vaccination changes amid pause of J&J vaccine

Read more: Michigan temporarily pausing use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Read even more: US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J shots in blow to vaccine drive

Both Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer commented on the issue.

The state is in a COVID-19 crisis and it just lost one of three vaccines being used to try to fight it.

Whitmer stated that if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine gets approval again the state will use it.

“If those numbers hold we should still have high confidence in the safety and efficacy of the J&J vaccine,” said Whitmer adding that it is an important tool to fight COVID-19.

Whitmer says the state will continue monitoring FDA and CDC guidance on the issue.

But right now Michigan just lost one of three vaccine tools to fight back this raging surge of COVID cases, and continues to ask Washington to send more of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Detroit was also using Johnson & Johnson, but more than a month ago Duggan rejected it and then accepted shipments of the vaccine.

“I made a decision that Detroit was going to be Moderna and Pfizer based, based on my own research and 98 percent of Detroiters have chosen Moderna and Pfizer,” said Duggan.

Wayne County was first shipped 28,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Now 12,000 doses are left with many given to Dearborn and Livonia which immediately stopped using it.

Communities are worried about the major impact of more people who got the J&J vaccine reporting severe symptoms.

“If it is proven these cases are linked to the vaccine, then we have lost a vaccine. If it has not been, the confidence of the public has been a little bit shaken. It will take a lot to restore that confidence,” said Dr. Mouhanad Hammani, chief Wayne County health officer.

In regards to the Ford Field FEMA mass vaccination clinic, the J&J vaccine was to be used for the final two weeks.

An emergency meeting was held with the following options provided that include giving one shot of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and extending the clinic to give the second shot.

The second option is to give one shot and ask county health departments to give the second shot.

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