MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than half of Minnesotans ages 16 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine ranking the state among the best at getting shots in arms. Still, some wonder how the supply is doing after Johnson & Johnson put a temporary pause on its shot last week due to reports of blood clots.
It’s been more than a year since Minnesotans have line up outside a music venue. Only this time, Jill Driscoll wasn’t catching a show on Monday, but a shot inside.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: No New Deaths Reported In Last 24 Hours; Positivity Rate Plateaus
“Some of my friends have been doing the State Fair event and I told them I was doing something cooler at First Avenue,” Driscoll said. “I heard about the event on the Minnesota Vaccine Hunters page, so I got an appointment for myself and my son.”
The Vaccine Hunters Facebook page has helped people find appointments since February. Where Minnesotans once drove to other states, one of the page’s administrators told WCCO those who now want a shot are able to find one within a week, with extra doses becoming more common.
Maura Caldwell is of one six people who are administrators on the page.
“I’ve just seen less and less people feeling desperate. It’s hard to fill appointments right now,” Caldwell added.READ MORE: Hospitality Industry Getting Creative To Quickly Attract Staff As Restrictions Lift
Caldwell says that’s even the case despite the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on pause due to reports of blood clots.
Dr. Frank Rhame helped lead a clinical trial of that vaccine last fall. He worries last week’s news creates hesitancy to be vaccinated for COVID-19 altogether.
“I think it’s going to slow things down,” he said.
He’s also concerned about what it means on a global scale where the Johnson & Johnson dose is easier to store and a better fit for poor countries.
“I think it’s going to do damage both with the ability to get everybody vaccinated as fast as we would otherwise be able to,” Rhame said.MORE NEWS: COVID In MN: MDH Reports 810 New Cases, 7 Deaths
The country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said this weekend that he believes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will resume soon, likely with a warning or restriction. He expects a decision to be made by Friday on the vaccine’s fate.
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