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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Mecklenburg County To Continue Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations After CDC Finds No Safety Issues

Courtesy Atrium Health

Mecklenburg County Public Health will continue administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the CDC announced Friday it has found no safety issues following reports of several people suffering from reactions that included fainting.

On Thursday, a mass vaccination clinic in Wake County briefly stopped providing the vaccine after 18 people reported reactions, and four were taken to the hospital. The reactions came after more than 2,300 vaccinations were administered at the clinic at PNC Arena — less than 1% of those vaccinated.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement late Thursday saying no safety issues were found, and the vaccine was safe to administer.

In the past week, people receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Georgia, Colorado and Iowa have reported feeling dizziness, light headedness, feeling faint and sweating within a few hours of receiving the vaccine.

"The CDC is working with the specific community where these incidents have occurred," Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said in a statement. "Currently, they are not recommending that other communities stop administering any lots of the vaccines."

Concern about reaction to the vaccine comes about a week after Johnson & Johnson announced a production plant in Baltimore produced an ingredient that failed quality control tests. The mistake was discovered before it was placed in vaccine doses.

The CDC recommends that anyone receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Have a beverage or snack before getting the vaccine;
  • Sit or lie down after you receive the vaccine; and
  • Breathe slowly and deeply before getting the vaccine, and think of something relaxing.

"COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and the best way to finally put this pandemic behind us," Harris continued in a statement. "Some people will experience pain or swelling at the injection site, a headache, even fever and chills. They typically don’t last long and are signs that your body is building protection against the virus."

Atrium Health also is scheduled to administer Johnson & Johnson vaccinations at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium on Friday and Sunday.

About 27% of Mecklenburg County's population has been vaccinated, according to the health department.

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Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.