How Johnson & Johnson pause impacts rural Colorado

The Mass Vaccine Buses were expected to vaccinate 500 people a day with Johnson & Johnson
Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 13, 2021

PUEBLO — The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a big part of vaccine equity in Colorado because of its ease for distribution.

Previously, many rural counties were relying on Moderna because the health department's did not have the ability to keep Pfizer cold enough. Once Johnson & Johnson was approved, it provided these rural areas an entirely new option for vaccine roll out.

Now, Colorado is pressing pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a result of the FDA's most recent recommendation. For rural counties, that could mean a much slower roll out process. However, Governor Jared Polis says the mission for Colorado's vaccine equity will be dependent on how long this pause for Johnson & Johnson lasts.

“If it only lasts 2, 3, 4 even 5 days, I'm confident that we have the supply in Moderna and Pfizer and would then be able to resume J&J that it would not impact timelines... So let's just watch and see how long this pause takes," said the Governor in a briefing on Tuesday.

The pause comes just over a week after Governor Polis unveiled the state's Mobile Vaccine Clinics, as part of the effort to reach rural Colorado. The bus began it's tour of southern Colorado in Avondale, where Brittany Montoya received her Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“I thought I was being part of the solution, but you’re darned if you do and you’re darned if you don’t!” said Montoya after Colorado announced the pause on Johnson & Johnson.

Montoya says she's been experiencing leg pain. Six women across the country are experiencing severe blood clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"My primary provider told me to go straight to the hospital," Montoya fearfully said, noting that emergency room visits are expensive.

When asked how the state, and country, should move forward after these adverse reactions, Montoya said "Stop Johnson and Johnson. This stuff is scary. I wish I would have gotten Moderna".

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