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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

NMU pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic for students

Ashley Beronja/NW VACCINE PAUSE—The CDC and FDA have recommended anyone who has received allocations of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to pause clinics after cases immerge of a rare and severe case of blood clotting. The news arrived on April 13 only a day after NMU received their Johnson & Johnson allocations for students.

The vaccination clinic hosted by NMU for students that was planned to be held on Tuesday, April 13 from 1-5 p.m. and Wednesday, April 14 from 8-5 p.m. has been paused until further notice due to recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. The announcement came on the morning of April 13 only a few days after the recent announcement that NMU had received the Johnson & Johnson allocations. The CDC and FDA recommended the pause in J&J vaccine distribution after six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot was founded in patients who have received the vaccine.

The vaccination clinic was supposed to be held in the Northern Center and run similar to how the COVID-19 testing in the fall. Students would register for a time either on April 13 or 14 and check-in upon arrival. For NMU students who were signed up to receive the J&J vaccine through the university, President Fritz Erickson said in a recent email that those who would still like to get vaccinated can do so by receiving the Moderna vaccine through the Marquette County Health Department.

“Students who register for the MCHD’s Wednesday clinic will be notified as quickly as possible, and no later than the end of the business day today for registrations made before 4 p.m., as to their Wednesday appointment time,” Erickson said.

The Moderna vaccine requires the two shots to be 28 days apart. Students who receive their first shot through the MCHD clinic on Wednesday will be able to get their second shot through their home area health department if leaving Marquette before the time comes for their second shot. Students still in Marquette on the 29th day will receive the second shot at another clinic through the MCHD.

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As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The CDC and FDA are reviewing data that has involved six reports of U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot with those after receiving the J&J vaccine. The CDC and FDA’s statement on the situation said that all cases occurred with women between the ages of 18-48 with symptoms showing 6-13 days after vaccination.

“Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given,” the CDC and FDA said.

Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick, medical director at the NMU Vielmetti Health Center, said that the university received special allocations from the state of Michigan for the purposes marked for students and have been ready since Monday to start distributing the vaccine to students.

“The pause that is in place is just that. It’s a pause to look into six of the cases that they’ve seen in the 6.85 million doses of Johnson & Johnson that have been given out with clotting concerns with those patients,” Kirkpatrick said. “It gives an opportunity to understand the common threads between those six cases and see if there have been any other cases that have been missed and perhaps come up with guidance about precautions to use in the future or specific patient groups that should not be vaccinated with that product.”

Kirkpatrick said that it was somewhat uncertain as to how long the pause will last. He said he has heard the pause could be as short as days but could go on longer than that.

With Michigan continuing to increase eligibility for residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, cases still continue to rise. While getting vaccinated helps keep yourself and others safe, practicing social distancing protocols is still important to remember, as it keeps everyone healthy.

As of March 26, Marquette County has had 34% of residents receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 19% have received both doses. This comes from the total population of 66,699 residents. 

“While this number of vaccines is commendable, it also means there are many more shots to be given,” the MCHD said.

The MCHD recently released a statement saying Marquette County would implement the switch immediately from a 14-day quarantine period down to a 10-day period that was determined by the CDC in December of 2020.

According to the CDC, quarantine is intended to reduce the risk that infected people might unknowingly transmit the infection to others. Quarantine ensures people who become symptomatic or are diagnosed during quarantine can be quickly brought to care and evaluated.

“Increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 due to a shortened quarantine period is difficult to quantify. Residual post quarantine transmission risk without COVID-19 testing is a median of 1.4% (range 0.1-10.6%) after 10 days and after 14 days is 0.1% (0.0-3.0),” the CDC said. 

The CDC said the rate of infectivity is hard to accurately determine but depends on the duration and intensity of exposure and presence or absence of mitigation such as wearing a mask or washing hands. 

 “Ranges estimates: work contact with masks (1-5%), athletes (25 %), household contacts (children 5%, adults 15%, and sleep partners 50%),” the CDC said.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past three months and have since recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms. People who have developed symptoms again within three months of having COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause for their symptoms or need to quarantine. Those who have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine.

“Situations of close contact include being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more, provided care at home for someone who is sick with COVID-19, direct physical contact (hugged or kissed them), shared eating or drinking utensils or someone has sneezed, coughed or somehow got respiratory droplets on you,” the MCHD said.

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