Lee Health ready to help those who received the J&J vaccine and could experience side effects

Published: April 16, 2021 4:12 PM EDT
Updated: April 16, 2021 5:08 PM EDT

Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through Lee Health may be concerned that those rare yet severe blood clots could happen to them. But, Lee Health’s CEO says they’re ready and willing to step up and help you if needed.

Dr. Larry Antonucci is the CEO and President of Lee Health and says doctors know what to look for and have treatments ready for you if, for some reason, you do experience those rare blood clots.

For now, no one has come forward with the clot that caused federal regulators to worry about the Jonhson & Johnson vaccine. Yet, the CDC announced that six women developed a rare blood clot just days after receiving the J&J vaccine which sparked fear in some.

“We know the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is on a pause right now. That’s the right thing to do,” said Dr. Antonucci.

Their point is that you’re much more likely to experience serious health complications from COVID-19 than from the vaccine itself.

Stephanie Stovall is the medical director of quality at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “I would say fear is a healthy thing. It keeps us from doing the things that are dangerous,” said Stovall. “We want to engage in those conversations and encourage people to look past that fear and look for the knowledge that will make them feel comfortable to get the vaccine.”

Lee Health has 500 doses of the J&J vaccine sitting in its freezer, ready to go into arms once the CDC investigation is finished.

“Every medicine we take, whether it’s an aspirin or an ibuprofen, has risk associated with it,” Dr. Antonucci said. “For women, birth control pills have a much higher risk [of] blood clots [than] what we’re talking about today.”

106 people are currently in Lee Health hospitals with COVID-19. A few weeks ago, the number was half of that.

“The disease is not going away yet. We know the only way we’re going to knock this disease out is by getting the population vaccinated,” said Dr. Antonucci.

Dr. Stovall says because of all of the precautions people took to stop COVID-19 from spreading, flu cases are down this year.

The worry from Lee Health leaders is that as people begin to relax, those numbers may go up and complicate COVID-19 cases.