Looking for a one-shot solution to the COVID-19 vaccine? The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is back in Becker County, after being found safe to use.
“It’s not causing blood clots in any general population,” said Becker County Public Health Supervisor Kristin Bausman. Those who receive the J&J vaccine actually have a somewhat smaller chance of getting blood clots than unvaccinated people, she said. “It really was not a relevant thing,” she added.
A Johnson & Johnson/Janssen clinic is being held 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the theater entrance of the Detroit Lakes Community Center and 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the city offices in Lake Park, she said. “It’s just one dose, it’s not a two-dose shot -- that’s the attraction,” she said. “There was a pause in that, but it passed a review panel and we began administering it.”
The public health staff is traveling to areas in Becker County that have lower-than average vaccination rates. “That will be our plan over the next month,” she said. “We request the vaccine Monday morning, and don’t find out until Thursday what kind and how much we’ll get -- so it’s tough to plan ahead.”
The governor’s mask mandate is still in effect and the virus is still out there: On Tuesday, there were 85 active COVID-19 cases in Becker County and 75 active cases in Otter Tail County, where a person in their early 30s recently died of COVID.
In general, Bausman said the vaccination process is going well in Becker County, with about 80% of people ages 65 and up now fully vaccinated.
More than half of all Becker County residents 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose.
But the low-hanging fruit is pretty much picked -- the people eager to get vaccinated have done so, and now the county has a better vaccine supply, she said. That means county public health staff has been heading out to schools and community centers to catch people where they are and make it easy to get vaccinated.
“We went to the three high schools in Becker County -- Frazee-Vergas, Detroit Lakes and Lake Park-Audubon, and we’re going back and doing second doses,” she said. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds can get the Pfizer vaccine with parental permission, and students who are 18 or older can just get the shot if they want it, she said.
“We had a fairly good turnout, we got quite a few -- some had already gotten vaccinated,” she said. “Once you’re fully vaccinated, you don’t need to quarantine anymore,” if you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19, she added. That’s a big draw for some students involved in sports and other activities, or who just don’t want to miss two weeks of in-person school.
Becker County Public Health is now offering both the Moderna and Janssen vaccines to all Becker County residents 18 years and up. Call 218-847-5628 Ext. 5414 to schedule an appointment or be placed on a waiting list.
According to Essentia Health St. Mary’s in Detroit Lakes, everyone 16 years and older now qualifies for the COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Anyone can call 833-494-0836 to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Sanford health in Detroit Lakes also offers vaccines to patients and nonpatients alike. The myth that COVID-19 vaccines were rushed and aren't safe is not true. According to Sanford Health, researchers took no safety shortcuts. Large studies (involving 30,000 people) show the vaccines are safe.
Sign up for a Sanford vaccine appointment at 218-846-2000.
Learn more about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines from the CDC:
And if you don’t get vaccinated in time and get sick from COVID-19, don’t despair: Essentia Health continues to offer a treatment for people diagnosed with mild to moderate cases of the virus who are at high risk for severe complications and hospitalization. It’s called monoclonal antibody treatment.