RI to get 85% fewer Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses this week amid nationwide shortage

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While reports of adverse side effects are making many weary of getting the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, one of the nation’s top medical experts is reassuring everyone that there’s nothing to worry about.

The side effects, which include nausea and fainting, from the single-dose shot caused three states to halt its use.

There have been no reports of adverse effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Rhode Island, according to the R.I. Department of Health.

Dr. Ashish Jha from Brown University says the vaccine is safe, and the side effects are only affecting a small portion of the nation’s population.

“So far, I haven’t seen anything that concerns me,” he said. “I’d still feel very comfortable recommending J&J for my family.”

“I think the vaccines are going to last at least a year, probably longer,” Jha continued. “They seem to hold up very well to all the variants.”

The nation’s Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply is also down 85% this week due to a mix-up at a Maryland plant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As a result, Rhode Island is only set to receive roughly 2,000 Johnson & Johnson doses this week. This is down from the 6,000 doses the state received last week and 16,000 the week before.

The situation is similar in Massachusetts. The state received nearly 104,000 doses of the vaccine last week, but is scheduled receive only 12,300 doses this week, according to CDC data.

Gov. Charlie Baker said state health officials plan to meet and discuss the future of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

“It makes it really hard to create a sustainable program with this,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee announced that 7,600 new vaccination appointments will be posted Tuesday at 9 a.m. on VaccinateRI.org, which is down from the 20,000 released on Friday.

McKee said he’s worried more Rhode Islanders will be hesitant to get vaccinated because of the recent news regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“It’s safe and it does save lives and it gets our economy back,” he said.

On Monday, Rhode Island also expanded vaccine eligibility to people 40 and older, one week before the state plans to open it up to everyone ages 16 and older.

The state is on the cusp of 300,000 people being fully vaccinated. New data was not released Monday, the Health Department saying it would be delayed due to a network issue.

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