‘It felt like I couldn’t breathe’: Personal reaction to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Coronavirus

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – BRProud’s Kennedi Walker has been on the front lines covering the COVID-19 pandemic. When reports came out about reactions to the Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine it was almost identical to what she went through.

Federal health authorities told providers Tuesday to temporarily stop giving out the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed blood clots. One person died, and another is in critical condition.

Oschner Regional Medical Director Dr. Aldo Russo says the clots are considered extremely rare.

“That’s a reaction that happened in less than .5% of the people that got vaccinated,” Dr. Russo says. “We do know if you get COVID you have a 15% chance of developing clots in your body, in either your legs or your lungs.”

Overall, more than 6.8 million people in the U.S. have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. No similar issues have been reported with Pfizer or Moderna.

When it was Walker’s turn to get a shot, she says she was excited. Afterward, she went to work but throughout the day she lost feeling in her left hand and fingers. 12 hours later, she says she knew something wasn’t right.

That night she was rushed to the emergency room, passed out, and had a fever of 103. The doctors performed a series of tests.

Walker’s symptoms didn’t improve, the body aches and chills worsened. She went back to the emergency room and that’s when doctors realized she was having a rare reaction to the vaccine, one most people, like Sarah Joy Hays, did not experience.

“Honestly it was no worse than the flu shot this year,” Hays says.

Hays says she only had soreness in her arm, something physicians say is normal. Our Lady of the Lake’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Katherine O’Neal, says these rare reactions should not deter people from getting vaccinated.

“We’ve given a ton of vaccines, and that vaccine is safe,” Dr. O’Neal says. “We have 100 million people worth of those vaccines and haven’t seen those types of side effects.”

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it is aware that blood clots have been reported with some COVID-19 vaccines, but there’s no clear connection between the vaccine and these blood clots.

Physicians continue to urge everyone to help stop the spread.

“The vaccine really works it’s safe it’s saving tons of lives,” Dr. O’Neal says.

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