INDIANAPOLIS — Shelving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine — even for a few days — is throwing a wrench into Indiana's effort to vaccinate tens of thousands of people at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other clinics across the state.
The people lined up for vaccinations received texts telling them about the last-minute switch from the one-shot J&J to the two-shot Moderna vaccine. The vast majority got vaccinated anyway.
"I already had the appointment, so I might as well get it," said Jessie Woodbury.
When Amanda Waymire heard the CDC and FDA yellow-flagged the J&J vaccine because of safety concerns, she canceled her appointment, then changed her mind.
"When I saw that they were switching to Moderna, I called back and got me another one. I was happy," she said.
Tuesday was the fourth day of a 16-day effort by the Indiana State Department of Health to vaccine 96,000 people.
Health officials don't know yet how much of an impact putting a hold on the J&J vaccine will have on the massive IMS clinic and others across the state.
"Any time you have to where we are receiving less, or we don't have the ability to get as much as we could, of course that may hurt our vaccine efforts," ISDH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said in a news briefing Tuesday morning.
People receiving the Moderna vaccine will have to get a second dose at another clinic. Health officials haven't decided where it will be.
The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are inching up. Despite the setback, Weaver urged the public to still get vaccinated.
"Plan to keep your appointment," she said. "We are going to do anything we can in our ability to have a vaccine available to people who want to come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to be vaccinated."
Before the clinic reopened Tuesday morning, nearly 17,000 people had already been vaccinated at IMS.