• 75°

J&J hiccup shouldn’t deter shot takers

The Western Tidewater Health District last week joined others in heeding the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Virginia Health Department and Gov. Ralph Northam by pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine out of an abundance of caution, as federal health agencies investigate reports of rare but possibly dangerous blood clots in patients who received the single-dose vaccine.

It’s important to note that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not been proven so far to cause the blood clots. While the experts sort out whether the clots are related to the vaccine or coincidental, we encourage our readers to focus on the significant benefits of the state’s vaccination program, with populations where there are high vaccination rates showing dramatically fewer coronavirus ­cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

“We’ll continue to use the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Our goal is still to have all Virginians have at least their first dose by the end of May,” Northam said.

With the Moderna and Pfizer two-dose vaccines still available, this hiccup should not deter anyone from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

About 72,000 Johnson & Johnson doses were expected to be distributed in 30 clinics in Virginia last week, or about 15% of the total doses scheduled.

About 184,000 Johnson & Johnson doses had been administered in Virginia before the pause.

Nationwide, more than 7 million J&J shots have been given, the vast majority causing no or mild side effects.

Besides protecting yourself from the disease, another incentive to get vaccinated is that widespread vaccination will accelerate the lifting of capacity restrictions at most businesses and remove social distancing restrictions and curfews on bars and restaurants.

Do your part to help reopen the state and get vaccinated.