Nashville’s new drive-thru vaccination site near Antioch is going to switch from the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot to Pfizer, the city announced Tuesday. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended a nationwide pause on using the J&J vaccine because of half a dozen cases of blood clots.
In response to the news from the @US_FDA and @CDCgov, those with appointments at our drive-thru vaccination site at the former Kmart at 2491 Murfreesboro Pike will receive the Pfizer vaccine instead of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. https://t.co/8MqWI2aqVF pic.twitter.com/tlycFZwWwW
— NashvilleHealth (@NashvilleHealth) April 13, 2021
In Tennessee, Nashville has been the primary user of the J&J doses, since demand in the city has remained higher than the rest of the state. But the state health commissioner, Dr. Lisa Piercey, said before the blood clot concerns that more counties were asking for the one-dose vaccine because people liked the convenience of “one and done.”
Those with existing appointments at the old Kmart site on Murfreesboro Road will be notified about the switch. The J&J pause will also slow down the city’s effort to vaccinate more people living in homeless camps, announced last week, which was relying on the one-dose vaccine.
With the J&J pause, some events are switching to other brands, and some are postponed. There’s hope the pause won’t undermine confidence in the one-dose vaccine, says Brian Haile, who leads Neighborhood Health which is one of the 17 organizations part of the two-month blitz of the city’s homeless community.
“If you stop because something happens less than one-in-a-million times, just to make doubly sure everything is really OK, then that should give people a lot of confidence,” Haile says.
The FDA’s pause related to six cases of blood clots has been explained by regulators as using an “abundance of caution.”
Nashville has not had any trouble with the J&J vaccine after using roughly 15,000 doses, according to city officials. The city administered 10,000 doses at a one-day event held at Nissan Stadium. A weeklong event at Hadley Park, targeting the historically Black neighborhoods of Nashville, also used the J&J vaccine without any documented problems.
“We’re going to do what’s safe for the community, we’re going to do what the science drives,” says Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of the city’s coronavirus taskforce. “Do I wish we would still go full speed ahead with everything we have? Absolutely, because that’s the best way to beat this pandemic. But we’re going to do what we can here.”