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Some West Texas health officials say Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause is no reason to panic



ABILENE, Tx — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a pause in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots among six women.

In some areas of West Texas, such as the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District, people are scheduled to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to get their first shot of the Moderna vaccine. Another option was to cancel their J&J vaccine appointment.

Local health officials said the recent pause should not impact the supply and demand of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, hesitancy continues to rise to the surface among people who did not want the shot.

Healthcare workers continue to fight on the front lines amid the COVID-19 global health pandemic.

Dr. Tina Butler is the associate program director for the Hardin-Simmons Physician Assistant Program. She said part of helping those who may feel hesitant is making sure the health professional knows the facts and can communicate them to the patient in a non-threatening, non-judgmental manner.

“You need to explore that patient’s hesitations and what their concerns are and involve them in the decision-making process. Find out what information they know rather it be true or false, and if it’s false, certainly correct it,” Butler said.

When it comes to educating those who may fall within the lower-income areas of the community on the COVID-19 vaccine, Norma Lee with La Esperanza Clinics said, “Be in touch with the people who are in the know every day… So, we can hear a lot, we see a lot, but stick to the facts and the people that are at the frontline of that information.”

Butler said being able to communicate and educate members of the lower-income communities is part of preparing future physicians. According to Butler, most patients have an eighth-grade reading communication level.

“It’s about any disease process. So, one of the things that we teach our students is that when you have to keep in mind the health literacy level of your patients…it’s about having the conversation at the level that individual patients can communicate,” Butler said.

Butler said observed structural clinical encounters to continue to prepare and teach its students to make informed decisions when talking to patients about receiving the vaccine or not.

“You know, part of the training process is teaching them how to do certain clinical and technical skills of which, you know, getting a vaccine is one of them,” Butler said.

Doctors and physicians said they continue to stay updated with what the health experts provide to them to educate patients.