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Sedgwick County struggles to fill appointments as Johnson & Johnson vaccine returns

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 4:18 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - For the first time in a couple of weeks, Sedgwick County is offering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The clearance to continue offering the single-dose vaccine followed a 10-day investigation into 15 cases of rare blood clots that occurred in women who got the vaccine. While the investigation deemed the single-shot option safe to continue, Sedgwick County still struggled to fill vaccine appointments Tuesday at its vaccine clinic downtown.

Sedgwick County health officials were prepared to schedule about 1,000 appointments Tuesday for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With a relatively low turnout, the county said it’s becoming clear that even though the risk of a blood clot following the vaccine is extremely low, there is now some mistrust with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Health leaders say rebuilding public trust could take some time. Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said another contributor to Tuesday’s low turnout is that many are unaware that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is again available. But health officials fear that the investigation overall gave the vaccine a bad reputation. They emphasized that they know what to look out for and know how to treat the side effects.

“Information is gold, and we’ve got to find a way to really emphasize that, that you know, this is not a walking time bomb,” Byrne said.

The CDC updated its guidance on symptoms to look out for with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Health officials point out that the risk of severe health complications from COVID-19 is much higher than the risk of a blood clot.

The Sedgwick County Health Department will again offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Thursday, April 29, by appointment only. You can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Sedgwick County through the county’s website. Walk-in appointments are available for the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses to be fully vaccinated.

Sedgwick County’s community vaccination site is at Wichita’s former downtown library at 223 S. Main

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