The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been reapproved for use once again after its 10-day pause, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner noted in a Sunday update on the Highland County Health Department’s Facebook page.
Warner said a pause in using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine gave health officials the time to review more data to “better understand the degree of risk associated” with this version of the vaccine in terms of a blood clotting disorder, as well as federal agencies and the medical community time to find and share information on the “most appropriate treatment response.”
In the time since the start of the pause, nine more cases of the blood clotting disorder were found, which brought the number of known cases to 15, among the almost 7 million people that have received the vaccine, according to Warner.
“The decision to lift the pause is based on the experts’ determination that the benefits of again administering the vaccine greatly outweigh the very small degree of risk associated with its use, particularly now that the risk and treatment protocols are better understood,” Warner wrote. “The risk of blood clotting is much higher for people who contract COVID-19 than it is for people who receive the JNJ vaccine.”
In terms of COVID-19, he said the case count for the county is currently at 92.68 cases per 100,000, which is “pretty consistent” with the rest of the Southwest Ohio region. He also said the other trends are “steady,” with the seven-day average for daily hospital admissions under one, outpatient visits at one a day and daily emergency department visits also under one. Warner also said the county has had 190 total hospitalizations and 61 deaths due to COVID-19 since March of 2020, and 40 new cases in the last 14 days relative to Sunday.
“You may hear reference in the news to “breakthrough” cases,” he said. “These are COVID-19 cases that occur even though a person is fully vaccinated, and it has been at least 14 days since their vaccination process has been completed. We do still expect to see these cases from time to time because these vaccines are not 100% effective. Though it will be rare, some fully vaccinated people are still going to get COVID-19.”
Warner said that Saturday was the “end” of its large-scale vaccination clinic at the Highland County YMCA, and that vaccine clinics will be held at the health department moving forward, as well as the county’s Care-A-Van mobile vaccine clinic around the county.
Warner stressed the importance of getting vaccinated at the end of the update. He said that when he checked the numbers on Friday, Ohio’s first dose vaccination rate was at 39.85 percent and Highland County was at 24.68 percent, which makes Highland County the fourth-lowest vaccinated county in the state.
“With COVID-19, the best, most effective way for us to get upstream of the problem is to prevent infections in the first place,” he said. “Our most effective COVID-19 prevention tool, without question, is vaccination. I don’t do a lot of preaching in these updates; I just try to share what I know and answer your questions. Here is what I know. We are leaving ourselves open to more disease, more hospitalizations, and more deaths from COVID-19 in the future if we fail to get upstream of the problem now.”
Gov. Mike DeWine also gave an update on a couple new matters.
The first of those is a new Ohio Department of Health (ODH) order that exempts fully vaccinated nursing home and assisted living facility staff from routine testing. Those staff members that are not fully vaccinated will still need to be tested twice a week.
DeWine said that someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
DeWine also said the Ohio Department of Aging and ODH developed a homebound vaccination playbook for organizations working to make sure homebound people have access to the vaccine.
“By utilizing existing Rapid Response Teams, Ohio can deliver the vaccine where it is needed,” he said.
DeWine said the playbook is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov and that if you are a homebound person or know someone who is that wants a vaccine, to contact your Area Agency of Aging at 1-866-243-5678.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.