20210407-news-vaccine-rg06

Wyoming is home to the 11 most vaccine-hesitant counties in the nation, according to statistical modeling conducted by an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, Laramie County is not among these. Above, Bryn Erickson, 16, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination from Cheyenne Fire Department volunteer Bill Hinz . Rhianna Gelhart/For the Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – With federal health agencies calling for a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, the Cheyenne-Laramie County Department will be offering an alternative to residents who have signed up for a local vaccination clinic this Friday.

Local health officials had been planning to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine during the clinic, which will be located at the department’s new vaccination site at 614 S. Greeley Highway.

With the nationwide pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was a precautionary step after six recipients developed a rare blood clotting disorder, any residents who had signed up for the Friday clinic will now be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the same time and place, or to be placed on a wait list to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine later on.

Some 500 people had signed up to receive the vaccine during the clinic Friday, according to Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department Executive Director Kathy Emmons, and anyone in Laramie County who still wants to get vaccinated in the coming weeks should be able to do so through the other two federally approved vaccines.

“We do have a significant amount of vaccine in the community, so switching over to Pfizer will not be a problem,” Emmons said Tuesday.

“We’re in a good place with stock,” Emmons added. “In fact, I would like to be able to get more people coming in to get vaccinated. We’re kind of seeing a little bit of a drop off, which is happening all around the country.”

In Laramie County, at least 18.9% of residents have been fully vaccinated, according to estimates Tuesday from the Wyoming Department of Health. More than half of seniors ages 65 and above – about 52.7% – have been fully vaccinated in Laramie County.

For the time being, the county health department will store its current supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further guidance comes from the CDC.

The pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccines was applied statewide in Wyoming, as Gov. Mark Gordon announced in a tweet Tuesday morning.

“The Wyoming Department of Health has asked all COVID-19 vaccine providers to temporarily pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines until further federal guidance is issued,” Gordon said in the tweet.

For those interested in getting inoculated, the two other COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna – are being offered at several locations across Laramie County, including many pharmacies and urgent care centers. A full list of the options for where to get vaccinated can be found online at https://tinyurl.com/ws8u6k32.

Tom Coulter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at tcoulter@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3124. Follow him on Twitter at @tomcoulter_.

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