Some Chicago COVID-19 Vaccination Events Canceled Due To Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause

Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration has been paused due to concerns about blood clots. CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports on what that could mean for those looking for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Video Transcript

- So what does the Johnson & Johnson news mean for Chicago residents still trying to get a shot? CBS2 investigator Megan Hickey live at the United Center mass vaccination site. Megan, what's it mean?

MEGAN HICKEY: Brad, here at the United Center it's still business as usual, and that's because the plan to switch to J&J wasn't scheduled until next week. The city says they're still waiting on an updated plan from the federal government as sites across the state are put on pause.

SAM TOIA: The Super majority want the vaccine.

- Order up.

MEGAN HICKEY: Illinois Restaurant Association president Sam Toia told me he was gearing up to greet over 600 Illinois hospitality and food service workers at a fully-booked Johnson & Johnson vaccination event in Albany Park today. Now, it's one of many J&J vaccination events postponed.

SAM TOIA: We were starting a waiting list in case people canceled. And we're hoping to have more vaccines and make sure we are having programs throughout the city to get hospitality workers vaccinated if they want to get the vaccine.

MEGAN HICKEY: The disappointment is shared at the state, county, and city level, where Johnson & Johnson vaccinations were paused across the board. Cook County says vaccinations at their Tinley Park mass vaccination site were halted. All home-bound vaccination programs and vaccine bus programs, which rely on Johnson & Johnson because of the less rigorous cold storage requirements, are on hiatus. Employer based vaccinations at O'Hare and Midway have also been postponed.

ALLISON ARWADY: The reason this pause is on is because we want to fully understand these rare events.

MEGAN HICKEY: Dr. Allison Arwady said that not just the city but the county will see a drop in the rate of vaccinations because of this, but couldn't elaborate on just how large that drop off could be. She also worries that the pause will add to vaccine hesitancy. But she's strongly discouraged residents with pending Pfizer and Moderna appointments from canceling.

ALLISON ARWADY: I worry that people may have decreased confidence and more concern about side effects as a result of this.

SAM TOIA: I obviously was disappointed, but the health of our team members is always number one. Again, this is postponed.

MEGAN HICKEY: Now, in Illinois, of the total 7.3 million doses administered so far, only about 4%, or 290,000 of them have been J&J. Brad.

- All right. So what did supplies look like for the next week there, Megan?

MEGAN HICKEY: Brad, so the state was expecting just shy of about 6,000 J&J vaccines, but that is just a fraction of the total that the state was expecting-- again, the majority of which are Pfizer and Moderna.

- OK. Megan Hickey, CBS2 investigator. Megan, our thanks.