RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Shaw University was one of the few places in Wake County with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. The vaccine was administered during a community clinic inside the university’s gym.
It was a pre-planned community vaccine clinic that the county OKed to use the Johnson & Johnson shot. The clinic came just days after 18 people had a reaction to the vaccine at PNC Arena.
“Everyone has different reactions to vaccines,” said Dr. Keith Powell, who serves as the university’s Vice President of Student Affairs.
“I think we should follow the science — that it’s safe and effective, it reduces transmission, and in a congregate housing, which a lot of our students live in, that’s very important for the safety of our community.”
The clinic was open to students and the public. Powell said some people who stopped by the clinic had questions, but not many.
He received the vaccine last week and had no issues.
“I had no pain, nothing,” Powell said.
Thing were different for graduating senior Biance Wilburn. She described some of the side effects from her vaccine hours after she received her dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.
“I was in pain. My back was hurt. My head felt like someone was banging it up against the wall,” she said.
Wilburn said she understands that everyone reacts differently to the shot.
“Everybody is not going to experience the same things. One of my friends took it she didn’t feel anything. I talk to Dr. Powell he told me he didn’t really feel much, though I did,” she said.
The county is asking additional screening questions to make sure they better handle people who have side effects to the vaccine. They started those changes Monday.
“We’re monitoring them closely before and after vaccination,” said Ryan Jury, Wake County vaccine branch director.
Jury shared some of the additional screening questions they’re now asking at the vaccine clinic: How do you feel? Would you like something to drink or eat before you get vaccinated?
In addition to community clinics like the one held at Shaw on Monday, small pharmacies also received Johnson & Johnson vaccines. In all, 4,800 doses were allocated.
Moving forward this week, the plan is to use Pfizer at the Wake County outdoor mass vaccination site at PNC Arena — not Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Jury said the decision came down to the number of vaccine doses they’re receiving. In all, the county is receiving 18,000 doses of Moderna and Pfizer.
“The way the vaccine program works is we get what we call a baseline allocation. Currently, for Wake County, that’s 9,360 Pfizer doses and 300 Moderna. We found out on Sunday night we were getting some additional Moderna, as well,” Jury said.
He added that the county thought they would have used all the Johnson & Johnson vaccines last week. They never made plans to use the vaccine this week. When the county put their vaccine clinics on hold to investigate why some people had reactions to the shot, they ended up with doses left over.
“We had hoped to expend all of them and we didn’t make plans to use them because we thought we would use them all last week,” Jury said.
In total, the district has 7,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines leftover. It is now working to determine the best way to utilize the doses in the community.
“We haven’t been able to quite adjust and figure out how to offer Johnson & Johnson in the community like in the week previously,” Jury said.
He said they should have answers in the next few days.