Johnson and Johnson vaccine complications pose concerns for Robinson students


Photo A. Foster

An example of a vaccination card.

Amelia Foster, Print Managing Editor

Editor’s note: This story was written for FSPA’s Newspaper Team competition. The FSPA State Convention was held virtually from April 22-23.

On April 13, the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine was paused by the CDC and US Food and Drug Safety Administration due to blood clots that had been found within six people who had recently received the vaccine. The dose had been available in Tampa at federal distribution sites and pharmacies for anyone over 18, and for Robinson students who had already received the J&J vaccine, the pause set in fears over their safety.

“[I felt] not good because [the pause] was like a day after I got the vaccine and I was feeling bad that day,” Alex Warner (‘21) said, who received the J&J vaccine at the end of March.

Initial vaccine roll-out for Florida was slow, but vaccine distribution guidelines loosened up in March, raising people’s hopes that they’d be able to see family members again. Holidays passed and life went by for nearly a year without people being able to safely see their family.

“Both pairs of my grandparents were, of course, at risk, but fortunately none of my other relatives are immunocompromised,” Marvin Roush (‘21) said, who also received the J&J vaccine. “I was able to visit some family [during the pandemic], but I didn’t see my grandparents until they were vaccinated.

Currently, the J&J vaccine distribution is still paused, while the CDC investigates the safety of the vaccine. The blood clotting disorder that has appeared as a side-effect occurs in the one to two week period after receiving the vaccine, although people who have received the dose have been warned to be aware of their health in the weeks afterward.

Vaccines have posed an ethical conundrum for families. Rushing to get a vaccine leads to situations like the dangers of the J&J dose, yet waiting potentially endangers old and immunocompromised relatives. All have had to give up things they previously enjoyed in order to keep another safe.

“I don’t know; I don’t go to church much these days. My grandparents probably enjoyed [their vaccine] because they love God and other people there that also love God. They must’ve missed him during the pandemic,” Roush said.  “I think I miss God too.”