Health officials shut down the COVID-19 mass-vaccination site at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City on Wednesday afternoon after 11 people suffered adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and two were taken to area hospitals for observation.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Wednesday night issued a statement stressing that the side effects experienced by patients at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park — including nausea and dizziness — were “consistent with what can be expected,” and that the decision to close the site early was made out of an abundance of caution.
“The state has no reason to believe that people who were vaccinated today at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park should be concerned,” the health department said in a news release.
Kevin Massey, a spokesperson for Centura Health, which runs the site along with the state health department, said the number of people who experienced adverse reactions amounted to 0.8% of the 1,700 people inoculated at the site Wednesday.
State health officials noted that “in most cases, discomfort from fever or pain after getting the vaccine is normal.”
“We followed our protocols and, in an abundance of caution, made the decision — in partnership with the state — to pause operations for the remainder of the day,” Massey said.
Medical staff at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Park site “determined two individuals required additional observation” and they were transported to area hospitals, Massey said in a statement. On-site EMTs treated the other nine people with juice and water, state officials said.
Prior to Wednesday, the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System had recorded 10 reactions at Colorado’s community mass-vaccination sites, according to the state health department.
“We’re committed to providing safe community clinics, and we are so grateful that the clinic today properly observed and helped patients with immediate side effects,” Scott Bookman, the state’s COVID-19 incident commander, said in a statement. “We know it can be alarming to hear about people getting transported to the hospital, and we want to reassure Coloradans that the CDC and public health are closely monitoring all the authorized vaccines continually.”
Bookman added: “Getting a vaccine is far safer than getting severely sick with COVID-19. It’s why I got the vaccine, and why I’ve wanted my family to get it. Based on everything we know, it remains true that the best vaccine to get is the one you can get the soonest.”
The 640 people who were turned away Wednesday were rescheduled to be vaccinated at the park on Sunday, Massey said. Those now scheduled for Sunday will receive the first of two Pfizer shots, as that drugmaker’s vaccine previously had been scheduled for use on that day, state officials said.
Everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine is required to wait 15 minutes afterward to see if there are any adverse reactions.
“Our goal is to continue to vaccinate Coloradans as quickly as possible while keeping our patients’ safety at the forefront,” Massey said.