CHEHALIS – An increased demand for coronavirus vaccine comes Thursday when more people become eligible for the shot. And now, the state Department of Health is pausing the use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, effective immediately, “out of an abundance of caution” based on the appearance of a very rare but serious side effect including serious brain blood clots.
Lewis County Public Health says none of the cases are from Washington State but the concern prompted an exchange yesterday between Lewis County commissioner Sean Swope, who inquired about the county’s liability if someone has ill effects from a vaccine that is administered here. Lewis County Health Director J.P. Anderson responded saying, “My sense is that you can never completely get way from risk, I would consider the risk of not acting and providing those as the local health jurisdiction.” Anderson added the inoculation process is part of a federal health care mission.
As of Tuesday, an estimated 72 new coronavirus infections in Lewis County in the past week. Still the county remains below the Governor imposed health care metrics to keep businesses open at 50% capacity as part of the Washington Economic Recovery Plan.
Lewis County Health and Social Services is preparing to sign a three month lease on the former Sears building in Chehalis for use as a new walk-in vaccination clinic. The new clinic is designed to provide greater access to more people wanting the vaccine. The walk-in clinic could be open by as soon as Saturday, April 24.
Lewis County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Steve Krager shared on the global growth of variants of the coronavirus that, “In Lewis County a variant has not been identified, yet. 85% of coronavirus infections in the state are a variant of COVID-19.”