The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is available again in Massachusetts.
St. Peter's Church in Worcester hosted the city's third walkup COVID-19 vaccine equity clinic this week, with the single-dose shot being an attractive option for some.
"A relief, I didn't want to get two shots, I just wanted to get one shot and get it over with," said Yamil Miranda, who got the J&J vaccine.
"They take it away, and then I go, 'Oh, I don't want to do this thing twice, I know J&J will be back,' and fortunately, it's back," said Florence Braxton, who also got the J&J shot at Thursday's clinic.
But the lines there were nothing like what they were earlier this month at a similar equity clinic in the city – before the CDC paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson shot over blood clot concerns.
Nicole Fiore chose the Moderna vaccine instead.
"I learned about the blood clots from the J&J, and I didn't really feel like risking that," she said.
"We've actually hit hesitancy – whether it came before the Johnson & Johnson or this was the time," said Worcester Health Commissioner Dr. Mattie Castiel. "I was expecting it sometime in May, I wasn't expecting it so soon."
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Castiel has been working tirelessly to vaccinate people in some of the city's neighborhoods that were hardest hit by COVID-19.
But the hesitancy by some people to get the J&J vaccine has meant having to offer either Moderna or Pfizer alongside it – which means scheduling and administering second shots.
"We call it 'concierge clinics,' and we don't want to do that," said Castiel. "We started off that we're bringing this vaccine, and that's what we're bringing, because in the reality, all three are equivalent."
Castiel says they're relying on their focused grassroots outreach program through phone calls, informational pamphlets and one-on-one conversations to increase vaccine trust.
"We've been just going out into the community and knocking on doors and talking to people," said Castiel. "We just did it yesterday, and actually gave more Johnson & Johnson than we did Moderna."
Castiel says the city plans to have several more of these walkup coronavirus vaccine clinics to try to reach more people easily where they live and work.