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Summit County transitions mass vaccination site to Pfizer; distribution of Johnson & Johnson vaccine on hold

Summit County's drive-thru mass vaccination clinic opens at county fairgrounds
Posted at 4:34 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 18:42:43-04

AKRON, Ohio — After opening its mass vaccination site earlier this month, Summit County Public Health will shift its site from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the Pfizer vaccine.

On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and officials at the Ohio Department of Health advised all vaccine providers in the state to temporarily stop using the Johnson & Jonson vaccine after the CDC and the FDA recommended a pause following reports that six people developed "rare and severe" blood clots after receiving the vaccine.

“We’re not anticipating any disruption,” Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skota said.

The mass vaccination site had previously been scheduled to be closed Tuesday through Saturday. When it reopens on Sunday, Skoda told News 5 those with appointments will automatically be scheduled for the Pfizer vaccine.

“You still have an appointment,” she said. “It’s just the vaccine will change and I’m hoping frankly the [FDA and CDC] straighten this out quite quickly. When you start vaccinating this number of individuals, you’re going to have people react, you’re going to have people pass away unrelated to the vaccine. ”

Since December, Summit County Public Health has been administering the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine at its other clinics across the county.

However at nearby University of Akron, their upcoming vaccination clinics had to be postponed indefinitely, given they had planned on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Meanwhile, medical leaders worry about the long-term impact.

“I am concerned that we could see increased vaccine hesitancy,” Dr. Robyn Strosaker, Chief Operating Officer at UH Cleveland Medical Center, said. “We do know that COVID is very real and not nearly as small as the risk there could be from vaccines. So we're absolutely recommending people get vaccines.”

In Summit County, Skoda told News 5 they plan to hold on to about 4,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while the FDA and CDC investigate.