Skip to Content

Johnson & Johnson pause forces Lee County to put clinics on hold

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

FORT MADISON (WGEM) -- The recommendation from state and federal health experts to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson Jassen vaccine has forced Lee County health officials to change their plans.

The Lee County Health Department cancelled two upcoming Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinics, one on Tuesday at Southeastern Community College in Keokuk and the other on Saturday in Fort Madison.

SCC Keokuk Campus director Kari Bevans said the news took her by surprise Tuesday morning.

"I'm getting ready to come to work, watching the Today Show and they came on with the breaking news that this vaccine had been pulled," she said.

Bevans said she was supposed to be one of the more than 20 staff and students getting vaccinated.

"I was shocked but I was glad to know that if there is questions that they pulled it," she said.

Community Health Program Manager Emily Biddenstadt said the health department will keep all their Johnson and Johnson clinics on hold until they hear more from the Iowa Department of Public Health or the CDC.

She said the majority of their vaccine supply is made up of the Moderna vaccine and they have around 500 doses, enough for their next three scheduled clinics.

Those at Fort Madison Community Hospital said the situation has forced them to change their plans as well.

"There was a lot of county planning around vaccinating our food industries and agricultural industries and making sure we're able to get them vaccinated without needing two doses of the vaccine," infection preventionist Heather Oppenheimer-Smith said.

She said with fewer vaccines available, people need to be very careful.

"We want to make sure people are still doing all the mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID, especially as people are starting to travel going into summer," Oppenheimer-Smith said.

Especially at a time when the region's COVID-19 case count is rising.

"That has caused some of our planning people to kind of pull back together and say, 'Are we ready, do we still have all our plans in place, is everything still working like it should be?'" she said.

Health Department officials say if you got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the last three weeks and are experiencing severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath, make sure to see your primary care physician.

Author Profile Photo

Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

Skip to content