Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System said Monday morning they are expecting to hear more on Friday about the reasons for the recent Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine pause.
A CDC advisory committee will meet Friday and might make a decision about reinstating the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Dr. Steven Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System, said one of the nation’s top health officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he thinks the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be reinstated.
Dr. Stites said there may be some restrictions on the vaccine, however. It appeared that thrombotic tendencies may have been forming in young women who take birth control pills, according to some preliminary information. They will not know the full answer to the reason for the blood clots until Friday when more information is released, he said. It also appeared that blood clots in the brain were more prevalent in the population of women taking birth control pills than they were among women taking the vaccine, according to the doctors.
Many vaccines and medications have restrictions on them concerning subgroups that they are not recommended for, according to the doctors, and that could be one way the investigation results could be handled.
According to the doctors, a lot of volunteers and some staff are helping with the vaccine rollout at the KU Health System. That includes some retired doctors and nurses, as well as other retired medical professionals, along with people who have other skills.
The health system currently has about 40 clinical and nonclinical volunteers working with the COVID-19 vaccine clinics, according to Vanessa Goldsberry, volunteer services director. For some months, volunteers could not help at the health system, but with vaccinations, they are slowly being added again. There is a wide age range of volunteers, she said.
One of the nonclinical volunteers is Elaine Struve, who became a volunteer in 2018 after having received a bone marrow transplant in 2016.
Struve said she wanted to pay it forward and volunteer at the health system. She gave emotional support to those who were going through bone marrow transplants.
Currently she greets people who are coming into the COVID-19 vaccine clinics, and she also helps with various tasks.
“Volunteering just makes me feel so happy and rewarded,” Struve said. “Kindness is such a small gift to give, but it could mean so much more to those that are receiving it.”
People who want to volunteer at the health system may fill out a form at https://www.kansashealthsystem.com/giving/get-involved/volunteer.
Vaccines available Tuesday
Walk-in vaccinations are available Tuesday, April 20, for Wyandotte County residents and workers.
Wyandotte County residents and those who work in Wyandotte County may walk in for a COVID-19 vaccination from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, at the former Best Buy store at 10500 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas.
Also open for walk-in vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, will be the Kansas National Guard Armory at 100 S. 20th St. (18th and Ridge), Kansas City, Kansas. The former Kmart at 78th and State Avenue also will be open for vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20.
The vaccination sites will have either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
Appointments also are being scheduled for the Unified Government Health Department vaccine sites.
The Health Department has expanded vaccine access and starting this week, all Kansas residents can make an appointment to be vaccinated at any of the Health Department’s vaccination facilities on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The vaccination sites on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are open to Kansas residents who are 16 and older who make appointments. They also are open to Wyandotte County residents who can walk in for a vaccine without an appointment.
Kansas residents who wish to schedule an appointment may use the Health Department’s self-scheduling tool at WycoVaccines.org and click on a blue button that says, “Click here to schedule an appointment online.”
The page is available in Spanish by clicking at the top of the page.
Wyandotte County residents who don’t have an internet connection may call 3-1-1 or 913-573-5311 for assistance in scheduling their vaccination appointment time and date. Walk-ins also are possible for Wyandotte County residents.
People coming in for an appointment may be asked to show they live in Kansas, such as showing a driver’s license, a piece of mail addressed to them, or similar paperwork.
The Health Department also is adding late afternoon and early morning hours this week, and will have these special days for the next three or four weeks.
Early morning hours will be available at the former Best Buy vaccination site from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
Later afternoon hours will be from noon to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the former Kmart location.
The Armory will continue with Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 24.
To see more information about Health Department vaccinations, visit WycoVaccines.org.
Other sites available for vaccinations
KU Health System offers vaccinations seven days a week at different locations. Appointments are required. Current patients may use MyChart to make an appointment. Others may call 913-588-1227 or visit kansashealthsystem.com/vaccine to see if vaccines are available.
The University of Kansas Health System also has vaccinations for Wyandotte and Johnson county residents. Any residents of Kansas can call to get an appointment whether they are patients or not at the health system.
There are also pharmacies giving COVID-19 vaccinations in Wyandotte County by appointment, when available. These include Price Chopper and Hen House pharmacy at 76th and State Avenue, and 81st and State Avenue (see https://www.ballsfoodspharmacy.com/), and Medicine Shoppe pharmacy at 65th and Parallel by appointment when available (see https://www.facebook.com/The-Medicine-Shoppe-Kansas-City-281548241870522). CVS pharmacy also has announced that it will offer COVID-19 vaccines at one of its stores in Kansas City, Kansas. Registration is at CVS.com.
Case numbers reported
The University of Kansas Health System reported COVID-19 cases have dropped over the weekend. There were eight active COVID-19 patients on Monday morning, a decrease of six cases since Friday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. Of the eight patients, six were in the intensive care unit, an increase of three from Friday. Three patients were on a ventilator, the same number as Friday. There were another nine COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized but are out of the acute infection phase, a decrease of four from Friday. There is a total 17 patients, a decrease of 10 since Friday.
Wyandotte County reported an increase of 34 COVID-19 cases on Monday, April 19, for a cumulative 18,300 cases, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 289 deaths reported, no change.
The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 168,199 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Monday. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 61. The number of cumulative deaths was 2,370.
The state of Kansas reported 306,290 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Monday, April 19, an increase of 429 cases since Friday. There were a total cumulative 4,955 deaths reported statewide. According to KDHE, Johnson County had 57,136 cases, an increase of 68 since Friday; Leavenworth County, 7,141 cases, an increase of five; Sedgwick County (Wichita area), 55,533, an increase of 71; Shawnee County (Topeka area), 17,243 cases, an increase of 44; Douglas County (Lawrence area), 8,704 cases, an increase of 19; Riley County, 4,894 (Manhattan area), an increase of 38.
The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Monday night reported 31,737,347 cumulative cases in the United States, with 567,690 total deaths reported nationwide.
COVID-19 tests scheduled
Free COVID-19 testing is available from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 20, at All Saints parish, 811 Vermont Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The tests are in conjunction with the Wyandotte County Health Equity Task Force. Appointments are not needed.
COVID-19 testing is scheduled beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 20, at Lowe’s, 6920 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The tests are through WellHealth and appointments are required to www.gogettested.com/kansas.
Unified Government Health Department COVID-19 free testing sites at the former Best Buy store, 10500 Parallel Parkway, the former Kmart building at 78th and State, and the Kansas National Guard Armory, 100 S. 20th (18th and Ridge), are scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 20. For more information on what buildings are open Monday, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19. To see if there is any change to the schedule, visit https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept. Appointments are not needed.
Tests from the Health Department are free for those who live or work in Wyandotte County. They are saliva tests.
The tests are open to asymptomatic people as well as those who have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Check with the UG Health Department’s Facebook page to see if there have been any changes in the schedule. Bring something that shows that you live or work in Wyandotte County, such as a utility bill.
Testing sites are at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19. There are more test sites listed on this page.
Saliva testing is now offered at the UG Health Department. For more information, visit https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/02042021-ugphd-saliva-testing-available.pdf.
The KU doctors’ news conference is online at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/141943344552595.
The University of Kansas Health System COVID-19 update page is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/292961702392386.
A weekly vaccine report for the state of Kansas is at
Wyandotte County has a local mask and social distancing ordinance approved by the UG Commission. The UG COVID-19 webpage is at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.
The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/.
The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at https://marc2.org/covidhub/.
The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at https://bao.arcgis.com/covid-19/jhu/county/20209.html.
The Johns Hopkins Data in Motion, a presentation on critical COVID-19 data in the past 24 hours, is at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/covid-19-daily-video.