Amid J&J pause, Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations continue

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While federal and state vaccination sites and pharmacies hit pause on giving Johnson & Johnson shots Tuesday morning, people continued to get Pfizer and Moderna shots at dozens of locations across Northeast Florida.

At Regency Square, the second-largest vaccination site in Jacksonville, there was a steady stream of people, young and old, male and female getting their Pfizer shots.

“I did my research,” Julia Freeman said outside the Regency Square vaccine site Tuesday. “I’ve seen with all three vaccines, everyone is reacting differently. From what I’ve seen and from what I know, I don’t want to say Pfizer is the best but (it) has the least amount of side effects.”

In addition to Regency, the Legends Center and Celebration Church also give Pfizer shots and Edward Waters College uses Moderna.

Gateway and other federal sites are also staying open to give Pfizer second shots.

Shirley Williams which type of shot she got was less important than getting vaccinated.

“When I was a child my parents vaccinated us to keep us from getting polio, measles and stuff like that. So it’s a history in my family. I’m getting vaccinated,” Williams said as she was getting her second Pfizer shot.

Most pharmacies offer a choice of vaccines. Southeastern Grocers, which owns Winn-Dixie and Harveys, announced that people who had a J&J vaccine scheduled would be sent a text notifying them their appointment is canceled, but they are encouraged to make a new appointment to receive either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

The Veterans Administration also said it was offering those scheduled for a Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be rescheduled to receive either Moderna or Pfizer.

Julia Freeman got her first Pfizer shot Tuesday.

“My mom is a nurse and my uncle is a doctor looking into COVID long-haulers. From what they said and from what I’ve heard elsewhere, it seems like it’s pretty safe,” Freeman said.

At a White House briefing Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biden administrations science advisor, said that only 5% of the 120 million people how have received at least one vaccinate shot in the United States have received Johnson & Johnson, and only six out of those 6.85 million people had the blood clots that caused the FDA to order the pause while those cases are investigated.

Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said the administration was receiving enough doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to ensure enough supply to maintain the current national pace of 3 million shots a day.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis echoed that, telling reporters that he expected Florida would continue to have a “robust” supply of doses. While the state received 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, he said that number had already been scheduled to be reduced because of production issues. More than 7.29 million people in Florida have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the latest available data.

About the Authors: