Missouri resumes Johnson and Johnson vaccinations

    The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) announced Friday Missouri COVID-19 vaccinators will resume the use of Johnson and Johnson vaccinations immediately. The vaccine was paused after several instances of blood clots were reported.

    “This decision was made following the announcement by the Food and drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it has studied and confirmed that the pause on its use can be lifted,” the DHSS said. “It was concluded that the known and potential benefits of the J&J vaccine outweigh its known and potential risks.”
    Missouri providers who have received doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are now allowed to immediately resume its administration. “Allocations of the J&J vaccine by the federal government will resume next week. Just over 105,000 doses of the J&J had been administered in Missouri prior to the pause,” the DHSS reported.
    This comes after Phelps County saw a spike in active COVID-19 cases last week. That spike has decreased significantly this week. The Phelps-Maries County Health Department reported on Monday, April 27, active cases dropped to 30, after hitting 99 the week prior. Total PCR positive tests were at 3,585 this week. There have been 137 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Phelps County. Initiated vaccination for the area is at 28.2 percent, with 21.7 percent having completed the vaccination process.
    Maries County remained steady at four active cases of COVID-19 this week, with 704 confirmed total cases in the county. There have been 15 deaths associated with COVID-19 in Maries County. Initiated vaccinations are at 23.9 percent in Maries County, with 19.4 percent having completed vaccination.
    To check current information, the Department of Health and Senior Services (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 April 24. 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 18 through April 24.
    According to the state dashboard, there have been 3,237 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 17 new cases reported in Phelps County over the seven-day date range. Phelps County is at 7,262 in cases per 100,000 population to date.
    Missouri as a state has a total of 500,071 confirmed cases to date as of April 24. The seven-day positive percent PCR tests are at 4.8 percent using the CDC method and there have been 8,732 confirmed deaths in the state associated with COVID-19. Over the seven-day date range, there have been 2,092 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.