Sebastian County health officials working to bring vaccine clinics to businesses

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 323 views 

The Sebastian County Health Unit has geared up to take the COVID-19 vaccine to area businesses in order to make the vaccine more easily accessible to those needing vaccination.

The health unit will go to any business that wants a COVID vaccine as long as least 10 people at that business want to receive the vaccine, said Matthew Hicks, administrator. Health department personnel will administer Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and will provide education for those who might be hesitant of getting the vaccine.

Though administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was halted April 13, the CDC and FDA recommended that its use resume in the United States, effective April 23. However, they issued a statement that women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination, and that other COVID-19 vaccines are available where this risk has not been seen.

Reports of adverse events following the use of the vaccine suggest an increased risk of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets, the CDC website states.

“Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old,” it said. “Since use of COVID-19 vaccines began in the United States, scientists and doctors have constantly and carefully reviewed all reports of vaccine side effects and adverse events.”

As of April 23, more than 8 million doses of the vaccine had been administered. During that time, there were 15 reports of women who got the vaccine developing TTS. These reports represent a reporting rate of 7 such events per 1 million vaccinations among women 18 through 49 years old and a rate of 0.9 per 1 million vaccinations among women 50 years and older.

“For all women, this is a rare adverse event. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, the adverse event is even more rare. Reports show that symptoms of this adverse event started between 6 and 15 days after vaccination,” the site states.

Hicks said the health unit has had some interest generated in workplace vaccination but has not scheduled anything yet.

“We encourage our citizens to visit our website at healthy.arkansas.gov or to check the cdc.gov in reference for great education materials about the vaccines, in particular, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  We are hopeful many businesses in the county will reach out and take advantage of this opportunity,” he said.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, more than 1.83 million doses of a COVID vaccine have been administered in the state. In Sebastian County, there have been 44,819 doses administered, with 5.77% of the population over the age of 16 partially immunized and 20.77% of those over the age of 16 fully immunized.

For information, email hicks at [email protected] or call (479) 452-8600, extension 2123.

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