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Local Pharmacist weighs in on impact of Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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VAN BUREN, Maine (WAGM) - Since the state of Maine resumed use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, local pharmacists have been working to address vaccine hesitancy.

After the pause of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine here in Maine, John Hebert of Hebert Rexall Pharmacy in Van Buren says it didn’t stop people from wanting to be vaccinated.

“We had a waiting list of people who were… even though we may have had Moderna or we may have had Pfizer, they were waiting specifically for Johnson and Johnson,” Hebert said. “And because the convenience of the one shot, the one and done approach was so appealing to them, they were willing to wait and see how it played out with the FDA.”

While some were willing, others were still hesitant. Hebert says the pause gave him the opportunity to address that population.

“There were a lot of people on the fence to begin with and this was kind of the segue into having a more detailed conversation about vaccine safety as a whole. What I found was people were asking very intelligent questions. Again, because we were able to have those conversations it shifted the balance for people who were on the fence.”

Although the pause helped to maintain a strong supply of vaccine, Hebert says, “Supply is not the issue. Right now, what we need to do is we need to be creative and flexible in reaching out to populations. Sometimes it takes a little more effort… I had a high school coach where I vaccinated him in the parking lot during his practice. But those are the types of thing as providers that what we are going to have to do. Get vaccine to people and make it convenient for them.”

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