Will Johnson & Johnson vaccine problem impact vaccine hesitancy in Hawaii?

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Will the news about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have an impact on people’s willingness to get any COVID-19 vaccine?

There may be more vaccine hesitancy, but Lt. Gov. Josh Green says folks should not worry about the Moderna or Pfizer shots.

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“At least for today and I feel I can say this comfortably going forward, I do not have any concerns about the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines whatsoever,” said Green.

The State Health Department says the majority of vaccines that have been administered have been Moderna and Pfizer. Director Dr. Libby Char said, officials are looking into how vaccine hesitancy will be affected from the news about Johnson & Johnson.

“I am concerned that people who are undecided as to whether or not to get a vaccine, you know, would this influence them negatively? We’re very aware of that,” Char said

So what ingredients are different between the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines versus the one-shot dose from Johnson & Johnson?

“They believe it may very well be that it’s from an adenovirus. It’s being used for both the Astrazeneca shot and the Johnson & Johnson shot. The Moderna and Pfizer used a different process which is mRNA. Totally different and that’s why we don’t really suspect that they will be in the same bucket. They are like apples and oranges as far as the process goes,” said Green.

Maui County saw unfilled vaccine appointments before the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson doses.

“We first opened it up to the younger group, and it was filled pretty well for about a couple of weeks,” said Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui District Health Officer. “Then it started to peter off. We got some kind of unfilled once, so then we had to start looking about vaccine hesitancy.”

KHON2 asked Dr. Pang if he is concerned that he will see vaccine hesitancy after this latest problem from Johnson & Johnson.

“Psychologically, yes,” Pang said. “But really, medical, public health wise, no.”

Pang wants to focus on long term effects that could happen if someone contracts COVID-19, rather than focusing on rare side effects from one vaccine.

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