JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In Mississippi, Pfizer and Moderna are the most-used vaccines thus far.
But health officials are working to get the message out that the Johnson and Johnson announcement shouldn’t spark fear of the shots.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs wants to make sure you understand the context when you hear about Johnson and Johnson complications.
“We’re talking about a rare complication related to one of the three vaccines that we have and then the risk, the relative risk of the vaccine even with this horrible complication, it’s so much less common than death with COVID,” noted Dobbs.
Johnson and Johnson makes up only a small percentage of the shots that have gone into Mississippians’ arms. One-point-four million vaccine doses have been given. Of those, nearly 42,000 were J&J.
“We will make sure that those providers that have received Johnson and Johnson and haven’t used it yet or maintaining it in appropriate conditions to remain viable,” explained State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
Dr. Byers says it appears around 40,000 doses have been sent out but not yet used. Dobbs says it’s not out of the question they’ll be put to use but makes this note:
“Some folks are waiting on that and it may well be that they’ll have availability of this in the near future after we learn more and see what the CDC and FDA have to say but we will need to make sure that we go ahead and get people on the two dose series as quickly as possible,” Dobbs described. “We’ve got to protect as many Mississippians as possible.”
He adds the good news is that the state’s not in short supply of Pfizer or Moderna. And while they were on the topic of vaccine side-effects, they shared more encouraging news.
“We have seen an exceedingly small number of side effects other than sort of the achy stuff the next day which is expected in a significant minority of folks,” Dobbs said. “But as far as like serious reactions, we haven’t really seen any of that honestly.
“We have seen some folks that might have like a mild rash and we’ve seen some folks with swelling in the arm that resolves. But as far as any serious or life-threatening reactions, we have not seen any.”
Another note from Tuesday’s breakdown is that more than 65 percent of the J&J doses in Mississippi have gone to folks who are 50 and older. That’s outside the age range health leaders believe are at highest risk for these rare complications.