WOODLAWN, Md (WMAR) — The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is being administered in Maryland again.
It was paused for 10 days while federal agencies investigated extremely rare but serious blood clots. They identified 15 cases in nearly eight million doses administered. Three were fatal.
Friday, a CDC committee met for the second time to review safety concerns, and recommended the pause be lifted.
The Maryland Department of Health said providers can resume using their supply of the J&J vaccines, which Gov. Larry Hogan said is a couple thousand doses statewide. Providers should share with patients updated information about the potential risks of the J&J vaccine, but they believe the benefits far outweigh them.
Local organizations hope the resumption it helps alleviate some vaccine hesitancy the pause exacerbated.
"Many persons are still hesitant and they have a right to be hesitant, because in history there have been some inequities," said Bishop Dwayne Debnam, from Morning Star Baptist Church of Baltimore County.
"I think resuming the vaccine helps. I think sharing information. I think seeing the church partner with providers of the vaccine," said Anthony Brown from Morning Star Baptist Church.
Sunday, Morning Star Baptist Church of Baltimore County vaccinated 100 people with Moderna doses at a clinic partnership with Alfa Specialty Pharmacy.
"To be able stewards, to be a trustworthy source, we gotta do these things that model what we are telling persons to do,"said Debnam.
Because of that, Diane Carter got her first vaccine dose Sunday, but it wasn’t always an easy choice.
"I chose to get the vaccine after debating three times," said Carter. "Once they offered it, there was no second guessing after that, and I have faith in God."
58 percent of Maryland adults have gotten at least one vaccine dose. The state’s 7-day positivity rate has dropped to 4.76%, and total COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped for the fifth straight day.