PINE RIDGE, S.C. — Independent pharmacies across the Midlands are switching gears after South Carolina and the country pauses the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Pamela McHugh, the Vice President of McHugh Pharmacy Group, says they've been gradually receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They have multiple pharmacy locations across the Midlands including Pine Ridge, Gaston, Chapin and many others.
So far they've been able to administer more than 3,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
"(Tuesday) morning, we read all the articles and received the information that the Food Drug Administration was monitoring the Johnson & Johnson due to some blood clots that we're found with some women that had received it," said McHugh. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to listen to the guidelines and stop giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further notice."
McHugh says they are calling all of their patients that were scheduled for an appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with their pharmacies. They are also planning on sending out emails to anyone who had shots lined up for the next week.
Right now they're having to put around 400 to 500 appointments on hold.
"It is a little frustrating that we've made all the effort to help get our neighbors and our friends vaccinated because we're anxiously are waiting for this pandemic to be over, but out of an abundance of caution, we do want to make sure that we don't do anything that would harm our friends and neighbors as well," explained McHugh.
Until the pharmacy group hears from the FDA that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe to use, they will be holding off on giving any vaccine. They say they would like to receive another vaccine like the Pfizer or Moderna to help continue vaccinate the community.
"I think that people just need to be looking for other places until we get the vaccine again," said McHugh. "I encourage them to go and look at other places to get the Pfizer or the Moderna wherever that may be because the most important thing at this point is for them to get vaccinated and we want to see that happen at whatever location they can find those vaccinations."