J&J vaccine suspended at Georgia site after 8 people have adverse reactions

CUMMING, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Public Health has paused distributing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at one state vaccination site after several people had adverse reactions after getting the shot on the same day this week.

Georgia is now the fourth state this week to pause the J&J vaccine due to similar problems.

Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach was at the Cumming Fairgrounds, where health officials have suspended distributing the vaccine after eight people experienced adverse reactions after getting the shots on Wednesday. One person was taken to the hospital but was released. Others were monitored at the site and sent home.

“It was a fainting issue,” Dave Palmer, North Georgia Health District spokesperson, told Gehlbach. “We don’t think it’s anything with the vaccine. It’s probably more environmental factors.”

Palmer said the afternoon may have just been too hot. Shots are given in a big building that is built like a barn.

“That facility is hard to cool, and we do have fans there, but it was a warmer day,” Palmer said. “I think the heat may have had some bearing on it. We’re not sure.”

There were 435 vaccines administered at the site on Wednesday. Less than 2% of those people had reactions, but it was still enough for officials to investigate. Tens of thousands of J&J vaccines have been given statewide with no adverse reactions.

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

“The reactions were consistent with common reactions in adults being vaccinated with any vaccine, but due to the number of individuals affected, the site stopped the J&J vaccinations to evaluate,” officials said.

Anyone scheduled to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that day was given the option to reschedule or get the Moderna first dose the same day.

On Friday, the site administered Pfizer vaccines.

Everyone who had a reaction has recovered.

[LINK: Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia]

“There is no reason to believe there is anything wrong with the vaccine itself, and other individuals who have received the J&J vaccine should not be concerned,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., DPH commissioner. “We are looking into what happened and what may have caused the reactions, including the conditions at the fairgrounds such as heat and the ability to keep the site cool.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is evaluating the incidents in Georgia and three other states, Iowa, Colorado, and North Carolina. The CDC has analyzed the vaccine lots and has not found any reason for concern.

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