Local health experts weigh in on safety of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Coronavirus

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Some vaccine clinics in North Carolina are pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccinations after several people had adverse reactions to the shots.

In Eastern North Carolina, East Carolina University is still giving out the single-dose shot.

Health experts at the national, state and local levels agree that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe. They said many of the reactions people are having could happen with any vaccine.

“What we’ve heard so far is in line with any reaction someone may have to an injection in general, not even a vaccination,” said Dr. Lanika Wright, ECU’s Director of Student Health Services.

This week, 18 people at a Raleigh vaccine clinic experienced symptoms like dizziness, fainting and nausea after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Four people were taken to the hospital for observation.

“A lot of the reactions they’re having are reactions that people have to vaccines, so they’re not necessarily unique to Johnson & Johnson,” said Wright.

The CDC said despite this, it is still safe for North Carolina clinics to administer the shots.

“The CDC has not found any correlation between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine itself and the reactions people are having,” said Wright.

ECU is offering the vaccine to students and community members. The university hosted a vaccine clinic at Minges Coliseum this week.

“We were really excited that we were receiving Johnson & Johnson from the state because it is one and done,” said Wright. “Students don’t have to worry about coming back to get the vaccine for their second shot.”

Wright has advice for people before they get any of the COVID-19 vaccines. Don’t come on an empty stomach.

“We do encourage people to eat and to have something to drink just to make sure ya know that some of their symptoms aren’t related to hypoglycemia,” she said.

ECU will continue to offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Croatan on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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