Alabamians react to CDC and FDA restarting Johnson & Johnson vaccine


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s official: the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been approved for use once again.

The CDC and FDA paused both production and administration on April 13 after several women across the country developed rare blood clots from the shots. A warning label for the blood clots will be placed on the vaccines.

Both doctors and some residents in Alabama see this as news to celebrate. Doctors believe having the J&J vaccine available again will help vaccination efforts and people see this as a step closer to putting an end to the pandemic.

“I think overall this is very good news,” UAB Dr. Michael Saag said.

Restaurant owners, like Rylie Hightower, say they have been vaccinated against the virus and are excited for more people to get the shot.

“I feel very safe. I feel very confident,” Hightower said.

Hightower also has a PhD in Bio-medical Science. She believes the CDC and FDA handled the vaccine issues correctly.

“Safety and ethicicy are always the most important things to look at,” Hightower said.

Dr. Saag says the pause gave experts time to study the effects of the vaccine and how to handle them going forward.

“We are able to use this with the increased confidence that we know what those rare events are,” Dr. Saag said.

He says the blood clots that some people developed are very rare and that most medications people take have some sort of side effect.

“In this case, it’s about a 1 and 500,000 chance of having this happen to somebody,” Dr. Saag said.

But Hightower believes peer pressuring people to get the shot isn’t the right way to go about things.

“It’s definitely encouraged. I always encourage people to get the vaccine but if they don’t want it, pushing people to get it is not going to be effective,” Hightower said.

By showing understanding and educating people on the science, she believes that will help people make more informed decisions on getting the vaccine.

The Alabama Department of Public Health shared this statement on the news Friday afternoon:

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) followed the guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the CDC regarding pausing use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine on April 13, 2021. ADPH will follow the guidance of ACIP and CDC if there is guidance to resume use of Johnson and Johnson. – Dr. Karen Landers, ADPH

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