The 10-day halt in administering Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has made it harder to inoculate the hard-to-reach and hesitant, health officials said, complicating efforts to reach community vaccination goals.
Many people who live in rural and other areas canceled appointments during the temporary pause last month, and many of them haven’t rescheduled, vaccination sites said. Meantime, some people hesitant to get inoculated told pollsters after the J&J halt they were less likely to take a shot.
The aftereffects threaten to set back efforts to vaccinate enough people to achieve communitywide immunity and drop many pandemic precautions, allowing for a return to more-normal life.
More than four months into the vaccination campaign, many of the people willing to get vaccinated have done so, according to health officials. Safety concerns raised by the pause have discouraged some people who told pollsters they were open to taking a vaccine but wanted to wait and see.
“There is a portion of the population that because of the pause, that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back, they’re not going to get vaccinated. They just evaporated,” said Paul Shelton, executive vice president of pharmacy at AdhereHealth LLC, a health-technology company that has been operating sites in more hesitant and hard-to-reach populations.