As Milwaukee clinics un-pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine, some patients request it

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- After a ten-day pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least one Milwaukee pharmacy is hitting the play button.

On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be resumed. The label will be updated to indicate women under 50 should be aware of the risk of blood clots.

At Hayat Pharmacy, owner Hashim Zaibak allows people which COVID-19 vaccine they want.

"If it's their second dose, then we have to give them the same manufacturer. So if they got Moderna, we have to give them Moderna. If they got Pfizer, we have to give them Pfizer," Zaibak said.

Hayat had doses of Johnson & Johnson stored in the fridge but began administering them again following the CDC's recommendations. Zaibak said some people specifically requested it.

"Some people are completely against the messenger RNA technology for their own beliefs. So they want something different, and Johnson & Johnson is different," he said.

Victoria Wintersberger requested Johnson & Johnson at Hayat on Saturday.

"Statistically it's still such a low percentage of people, and it doesn't make sense to be afraid of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," she said. "I have three kids and I'm busy and I thought that would be more efficient, and one less poke in my arm."

Another customer, Amy, said she requested not to get J&J because of her medical history. 

"I was signed up for the Johnson & Johnson and then when everything hit about the blood clot -- I have a history of blood clots from medication," Amy said.

Pharmacies are now fighting an uphill battle for herd immunity. Zaibak said at the end of the day, staff members are calling restaurants and businesses if they have extra doses, but finding recipients is more difficult now than it was a month ago.

"Hesitancy is huge," Zaibak said. "Honestly, I think we as a nation are going to struggle with the next. That's going to be our biggest challenge in the next few weeks, maybe few months."

Zaibak said if giving people a choice in vaccine makes them feel more comfortable, he's more than willing.

"It's really liquid gold, and in order for us to get to that 70 to 85 percent, we have to be able to use every drop," he said.

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