Vermont to resume Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccinations this week

Local News

 The state of Vermont will resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19 this week.

The Vermont Department of Health says there are still 300 open appointments to receive the J&J vaccine at a drive-in clinic at the Barton Fairgrounds on Tuesday. The clinic will offer the shots from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled through the state registration system at healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine.

Clinics using the other, multi-shot vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, have been taking place as usual.

The state announced the vaccinations would resume after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized its use despite a rare risk of blood clots. The experts say the vaccine’s benefits outweigh that serious but small risk.

Agency of Human Services Deputy Secretary Jenney Samuelson said there would be an emphasis on the Northeast Kingdom. She said the state will work with pharmacies to see if it’s feasible for some Vermonters to get the J&J single shot on Monday.

“Our pharmacy partners will need to look at, and respond to, the guidance that comes out,” Samuelson said. “It is anticipated, as the governor said, that we definitely will be ready to go on Tuesday.”

Also, last week Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Vermont isn’t monitoring so-called “COVID long haulers” for the presence of persistent symptoms. “However, that’s been one of the reasons I’ve been pushing very strongly for our own — within Vermont — study of people long-term with COVID, and we’re very close to beginning that study in a more prospective way,” he said.

The lone treatment program in northern New England for post-COVID syndrome is at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. It’s open to anyone still suffering from symptoms like fatigue, brain fog or shortness of breath more than three months after getting infected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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