Natrona County Health Department offers alternatives after J&J vaccine 'paused' by CDC - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Natrona County Health Department offers alternatives after J&J vaccine ‘paused’ by CDC

Casper/Natrona County Health Department RN Hana Kim reconstitutes the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine with sodium chloride while preparing the first doses to be administered in Natrona County on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – The Casper/Natrona County Health Department is offering the two-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today in its clinic at Eastridge Mall after the CDC issued a “pause” for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We switched quickly,” said C/NCHD spokesperson Hailey Bloom. “We sent out a message to patients this morning letting them know that we would not be providing that vaccine, but we did switch over and will be providing the Moderna today.”

Bloom said the department prepared to issue 1,500 vaccines per day at their clinic in the former Macy’s space at Eastridge Mall, and they do not foresee any supply issues with the J&J pause.

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“We have plenty of vaccine because we haven’t been fulfilling that full 1,500 spots per day,” she said, “so we shouldn’t have any shortage of either Moderna or Pfizer at this time.”

She says patients who prefer the Pfizer vaccine can sign up for spots on Wednesday at the clinic.

The CDC’s order to pause issuing the J&J single-dose vaccine comes after a handful of patients reported serious side effects with blood clotting.

“The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets,” according to the Associated Press. “All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48; there was one death and all remained under investigation.”

The reported problems are small considering more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine that have been given in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects, said the AP.

Bloom says the CDC is looking into what factors may be causing the rare blood clotting issues, such as medical history or medicinal drugs the patients may be using.

“They’re just trying to get more information before they move forward,” said Bloom, “but (the side effects) are severely, severely rare.”

The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:

What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.

If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.

Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.

For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email:

  • Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.