Local doctor: severe side effects rare from COVID-19 vaccine


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–More than 7 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States. But the latest reports have left some residents concerned. On Wednesday, the CDC held an emergency meeting after recommending the U.S. put a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six women reported severe blood clots.

Some say they are now more hesitant towards getting the vaccine at all.

“Now that I see all this stuff and people are getting sick, I said ‘no, I’m not doing it’. I have to wait and see,” said Don Harper, a Panama City resident.

Others say they understand the precautions but now have other questions.

“My thoughts on it was, is this a political situation? A move with Johnson and Johnson compared to who came out first with the vaccine?” said Jim Hall, another Panama City resident.

Local Doctor, Rush Akin, with Gulf Coast Medical Center Primary Care says there’s no need to fear.

“These side effects are extremely rare to the point that we’re not even sure they’re caused by the vaccine,” Dr. Akin said.

He adds the risk remains extremely low.

“Whereas the same clotting events occur in 2-14 of 10 million people of the general population who have never had a vaccine,” Dr. Akin said.

He encourages everyone to continue getting vaccinated. Panama City resident, Faye Armstrong, says the reports do not scare her.

“I am not concerned at all. Like others have said, the blood clots women have, they might’ve got those anyway,” Armstrong said.

All blood clot reports occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.

After their meeting Wednesday, the CDC decided to postpone making a decision on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which would determine how long the pause is in effect. They will reconvene in a week.

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