Three mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in Colorado have stopped using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and are now offering Pfizer or Moderna.
KATHY WALSH: More than two million Coloradans have gotten at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. The governor announced the major milestone tonight, but now there's a new wrinkle in the vaccine rollout. Good evening, I'm Kathy Walsh. Thank you for joining us.
Centura Health will no longer give the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at three of its community vaccine sites, impacting more than 24,000 appointments. Our Rick Sallinger talked with Centura's CEO today about the shift away from the J&J shot, and Rick, why are they switching to different vaccines?
RICK SALLINGER: Well, Kathy, there's two reasons. Number one, the shortage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to millions of doses being spoiled at a facility in Baltimore. And the other is in this, the adverse effects being felt by people here at Dick's Sporting Goods Park earlier this week. Today, we visited another site in Colorado Springs.
They lined up by the thousands beneath snowcapped Pikes Peak. There, a sign read, J&J vaccine canceled today. But keep your appointment and get Pfizer.
- I'm actually pretty excited. I like the 95% efficacy rate of Pfizer.
RICK SALLINGER: The switch in vaccines came after 11 people reported adverse effects, like nausea and fainting after having the J&J vaccine Wednesday at the Commerce City site. Then, similar reactions came in from around the country.
Why are you halting the use of Johnson & Johnson at the mass sites?
- We are shifting to Moderna and Pfizer at our mass vaccination sites because of a shortage of the J&J vaccine, and because of the incident that happened at Dick's Sporting Good Park earlier.
RICK SALLINGER: Centura indicated it would continue the use of the J&J vaccine at clinics and doctors offices.
- Out of abundance of caution, we were concerned about those reactions, when you're sitting in your car, or worse yet, when you're driving home.
RICK SALLINGER: Instead of just one shot, those going to the mass vaccination sites will now need two.
- Couldn't tell the difference between this and a flu shot, so all good.
RICK SALLINGER: No adverse reactions reported here on this day.
On Wednesday, when people reported problems here, they cut off the line and were told to come back tomorrow. But they won't be getting Johnson & Johnson. In Commerce City, Rick Sallinger, covering Colorado First.