Sarasota vaccination site scrambles to switch shots after state suspends Johnson & Johnson vaccine

At St. Jude Catholic Church in Sarasota, volunteers joined together. They worked to help protect community members against COVID-19

"It's definitely that partnership that comes together that we are able to be successful," said Wendy Barroso, a business manager with St. Jude.

It's been important for her to spread the word about the COVID-19 vaccine to her church community. She's worked to break down language barriers and dispel myths and worries over immigration status and registering for the vaccine. 

"It’s important that they know how to get here. That they see familiar faces, they are comfortable with the language on how to express any questions that they may have so they can answer them," she explained. 

Their site was supposed to be supplied with the Johnson and Johnson one-dose vaccine. But earlier this week, the CDC recommended halting its use after a small number of women developed blood clots

"Whenever you get news like that at the last minute, it’s an opportunity. It's an opportunity to see what we can do," shared Jennifer Champion with Tidwell Hospice. 

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Champion said the group started making calls. They were able to switch their supply to Moderna. 

"I have to give a huge shout-out to the people within our offices, working with Sarasota and Manatee Counties and their departments of health and their willingness to make that switch with us very quickly so we can still have these clinics and still reach the people and do it with the vaccinations that are approved and work," said Champion. 

Volunteers gave out nearly 200 vaccines on Saturday. 

"It has been very important for our community to understand that it’s okay for them to come get the vaccine, to make it assessable for them," said Barroso. 

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The make of the vaccine didn't seem to matter to those being vaccinated, as long as they received their first dose of protection. 

"It's very important. Very important because it’s for the family for the other person," stated Norma Galvan.