NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Johnson & Johnson shots are back after the FDA temporarily suspended its use, and still, there’s some hesitancy from people about getting that shot as the nation sees a dip in demand for vaccines.
Gabriella Kesterson just got her second Pfizer shot today at the Military Circle mass vaccination site.
She said she’s been eager to get vaccinated, but has seen a lot of hesitancy and vaccine preferences from her family and some friends.
“There’s been a lot of hesitancy around Johnson & Johnson,” she said. “On social media, and I guess in friend circles, people are preferring Pfizer.”
Auvergene Larry, the Deputy Site Manager at the Military Circle FEMA Site, says the return of J&J shots introduced some logistical challenges for the team at first.
Clear signs and tape on the ground divide the vaccination center between J&J and Pfizer shots, so people don’t accidently get the wrong shot.
Public health officials say the return of J&J shots hasn’t necessarily increased demand, but made it easier for those who weren’t fans of the two-dose alternatives.
“I don’t think it’s a change,” she said. “The people know that we’re here and we’re offering the J&J and again, if they don’t feel like doing one or two shots because some people may have a phobia with getting shots, it just makes it much easier,” she said.
Even though there’s a slight dip in vaccine demand, Larry says outreach efforts have been successful at getting shots in the arm of those in vulnerable communities.
“I will say that we went from 40% minority population to now 66% minority population because of the outreach in the Hampton Roads area,” she said.
Regardless of which shot, Kesterson says everyone should make a plan to get vaccinated to help the community.
“To me, it feels like the same process as getting a flu shot,” she said. “So, it’s something you should do as a community to get immunity as a community.”
The Military Circle site is going to be offering J&J shots until May 22 and at some of their community vaccination sites in the future.