Missouri suspends Johnson and Johnson vaccine use

    On Tuesday, April 13, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) rescinded the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine order due to health concerns. The Phelps-Maries County Health Department shared a statement by Dr. Randall Williams, who stated the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be suspended.

    In the order, which rescinds an order allowing the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to be issued beginning March 22, 2021, Williams states the pause is “due to health concerns” and will remain in effect until December 31, 2021, or until otherwise modified by the DHSS.
    “The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommend a pause for the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine over ‘six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot.’ Out of an abundance of caution, pending an official statement from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Phelps-Maries County Health Department will immediately pause administration off the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. All appointments will be canceled,” the health department said in a statement, prior to the order being released on Tuesday morning.
    This news comes just days after several Johnson and Johnson vaccine locations were added to Phelps County and vaccination events were held on Friday, April 9. Phase 3 of Missouri’s vaccination plan also opened on Friday and now all Missouri residents will become eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and all three brands were being used throughout the area. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will continue to be offered throughout the area
    The Phelps-Maries County Health Department reported on Monday, April 12 there were 40 active COVID-19 cases, with total PCR positive tests at 3,538. There have been 136 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Phelps County. Initiated vaccination for the area is at 25.4 percent, with 17.8 percent having completed the vaccination process.
    Maries County reported to 11 active cases of COVID-19, with 697 confirmed total cases in the county. There have been 15 deaths associated with COVID-19 in Maries County. Initiated vaccinations are at 21.9 percent in Maries County, with 17.2 percent having completed vaccination.
    To check current information, the DHSS COVID dashboard is updated daily. The link to that website is: https://showmestrong.mo.gov/public-health/.
    According to the state dashboard on Tuesday, numbers included data reported through March 6. All seven-day metrics are based on the date a test or death occurred and are subject to a three-day delay to ensure data are accurate and complete. As a result, Monday’s numbers were for the date range of April 4 through April 10.
    According to the state dashboard, there have been 3,202 confirmed positive cases to date Phelps County. The discrepancy could be associated with cases not yet reported to the state, false positives which have been changed, changes to the new dashboard, or errors in reporting. According to the dashboard, there have been 24 new cases reported in Phelps County over the seven-day date range. Phelps County is at 7,184 in cases per 100,000 population to date.
    Missouri as a state has a total of 494,157 confirmed cases to date as of April 10. The seven-day positive percent PCR tests are at 4.6 percent using the CDC method and there have been 8,622 confirmed deaths in the state associated with COVID-19. Over the seven-day date range, there have been 2,335 new confirmed cases.
    With each case, the health department works with the DHSS to investigate to identify any individual that may have come in close contact with the positive individual to monitor them for symptoms and assist in the containment of the virus. Any close contacts identified by a positive case within the county will be contacted privately by the health department.
    Primary symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, and shortness of breath. Other possible symptoms include body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell. The health department reported there are a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe illness, with some not experiencing any symptoms at all during their illness.
    The health department asks that anyone who develops symptoms contact their physician and seek testing and to isolate themselves until testing results are known.
    For general information and questions regarding the coronavirus, contact the Missouri DHSS hotline at 877-435-8411. The Phelps/Maries County Health Department can be reached by calling 573-458-6010. The department requests that residents not contact them via Facebook as there are too many comments made and someone could be missed.
    The health department urges the public to continue to take appropriate precautions, including social distancing, limiting in-person interactions, avoiding contact with people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, proper handwashing, cleaning frequently used surfaces, and staying home when sick, to help contain the spread of COVID-19.