NANTUCKET CURRENT: ISLAND GETS FIRST J&J VACCINE; NCH PLANS DRIVE-THROUGH VACCINE CLINIC

Nantucket Cottage Hospital officials have received the island’s first allocation of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and are planning to administer it in a drive-through vaccination clinic that is being planned at the hospital. Chief nursing officer Michelle Epps said the Johnson & Johnson doses gives the island a unique opportunity to reach individuals who are experiencing barriers to accessing the COVID-19 vaccine due to issues with scheduling, navigating technology, or language. “I think it’s a good option and I hope the community sees it that way,” Epps said. The drive-in is being planned for the late afternoon and early evening hours when people get off work, and vaccinations will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis with no appointment necessary.

Distribution of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was briefly paused on April 13th due to concerns about extremely rare instances of blood clots – just 16 cases, mostly women, out of 8 million people who received the J&J vaccine. Following a safety review by the FDA and CDC, the pause was lifted 10 days later. Demand for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was low following the pause, but the hesitancy appears to be lessening, according to data published by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“We’re certainly sensitive to that,” Epps said. “I think it (pausing distribution) was unfortunate given the incredibly small number of incidence that occurred out of the millions of doses given. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some hesitency in women in that age group, but we’ll certainly announce it (the drive-through) as J&J so people can decide for themselves and provide all the information from the government about any signs and symptoms. But it’s an incredibly safe vaccine, and it’s only one shot.”

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