Newton

At One Mass. Clinic, Return of J&J Vaccine Met With Mixed Reactions, But Long Lines

For most people at Union Pharmacy in Newton Centre, getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was a relief, despite the CDC pause

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Just two days after the FDA and the CDC gave the Johnson & Johnson shot the go-ahead, the one-shot vaccine was met with mixed reactions at a walk-in clinic in Newton Sunday.

For most people at Union Pharmacy in Newton Centre, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine came with a shot of relief.

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"I’d like to be able to see my grandparents and not worry about giving them anything," said high school senior Dylan Dincer.

"It feels good, I’m feeling good," said Newton resident Kevin Mitchell.

"This is very exciting, thrilling actually," added Cathy Borgesen.

For others though, there was disappointment that the one-shot vaccine was the only option at Sunday’s clinic. Pharmacy intern Anthony Petrillo described a specific encounter with a woman who wasn't excited by the news.

“She was hesitant because of the blood clotting issue,” explained Petrillo, who was administering the shots. “They’re saying they’re not comfortable and they’d rather Moderna or Pfizer.”

Use of the J&J shot resumed Friday but it now comes with a warning.

Federal health officials say about a dozen recipients developed unusual blood clots. All were women mostly under 50 years old, and three of them died.

It’s important to note that there has still been no direct link found between the vaccine and the clotting issue.

“For me, it took a long time to be here, I’ve read and researched a lot,” explained Weston native Nathalie O’Sullivan. “So, I got to the point I was comfortable once it got back on the market.”

“We just wanted a vaccine and the chances are so slim and so remote that it would be crazy not to,” Borgesen said.

Massachusetts and Maine resumed the use of the vaccine on Friday, while Vermont is set to resume the use of it by next week. This comes after reports surfaced of women developing blood clots after receiving the vacccine.

And with health officials saying the benefits far outweigh the risks, Sunday’s long line outside Union Pharmacy indicated that most residents agree.

“I don’t want the virus to continue to control us and determine what we can and cannot do,” O’Sullivan said.

The owner at Union Pharmacy says they’d never offer anything they don’t believe in, but if people are hesitant to get the Johnson & Johnson shot, they’re expecting a shipment of Moderna vaccines sometime this week.

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