Colorado Springs women react to Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause after receiving their shots

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COLORADO SPRINGS — As of April 12, 9,219 J&J doses have been administered to El Paso County residents, compared to 189,141 Pfizer and 124,883 Moderna, according to the county health department. 

Two Colorado Springs women both received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before the country-wide pause of the doses. Despite the latest news, both women are glad they are vaccinated.

“I am glad that I got vaccinated because my parents are older, they are in their 70’s, and I clean houses,” Desiree Brewer said. “I really didn’t want to get the shot, but I don’t want to get the COVID either.”

“I decided I’m an old lady; it doesn’t matter if I come down with I dunno zombie horns or something, haha,” Lisa Eastep explained. “I just decided I might as well be an experiment, and so that is why I went ahead and got it.”

The ladies experienced very different reactions from the shot.

“It hurt pretty bad for about 10 minutes, and then it quit. Other than that, I had no symptoms at all,” Eastep said.

“I had shakiness, vomiting, diarrhea, sweats, chills, I thought I was going to die,” Brewer explained. “I didn’t think it was going to ever end. At one point in time, I couldn’t even keep fluids down.”

Brewer said she spent five hours in the emergency room less than 24 hours after getting the shot.

“They didn’t admit me; they just said it wasn’t the actual flu and said it was just symptoms of Johnson and Johnson,” Brewer said. “They put IVs and stuff in me and gave me nauseous medicine, and then I started to feel better.”

El Paso County’s Medical Director, Dr. Robin Johnson, said putting the vaccine on pause is the system working as it should, finding out if this is a baseline health issue or something beyond that.

“So that we are acting on real data and not the what if’s or hearsay arise when we’re hearing something that is a little out of the norm,” Dr. Robin Johnson said.

She doesn’t think the pause on the J&J vaccines will affect those still waiting to be vaccinated.

“We don’t see any real perceivable lag in that vaccine distribution,” Dr. Johnson explained. “We have seen a very steady supply of Moderna and Pfizer in the last several weeks with increasing supply number.”

Dr. Johnson added if people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the last two weeks and experienced a severe headache that’s out of the norm, leg or stomach pain, or shortness of breath to call their primary care physician. Dr. Johnson said the county had not received concerns with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Those who were signed up for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been rescheduled for either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. If you have more questions, call the Colorado COVID Hotline at 1-877-CO-VAX-CO or 1-877-268-2926.

The J&J doses already here in El Paso County will be held under cold storage to remain viable when the CDC and FDA lift the pause on the vaccine.

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