RACINE COUNTY – Racine County’s rate of COVID-19 virus transmission remained in the “high” category; county officials reported this week. Meanwhile, the CDC has paused the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Also, Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are still available this week at many public clinics.

In its weekly update, county officials reported 223 new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in Racine within the past week. Leading to a total of 22,439 cases since the CDC declared the pandemic in March 2020. There have been 327 deaths attributed to the virus in the county.

As of Monday, 34.4 percent of Racine County residents (67,579) have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Further, 21.9 percent (43,001) have completed the vaccine series.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine discontinued

On Tuesday, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) paused the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they review extremely rare instances of blood clotting. An estimated 7 million doses of that vaccine have been administered nationally since it was approved for use starting in early March.

“There is still a lot to learn about how the vaccine might cause the problems that occurred in the six patients, which included blood clots around the brain and low platelets, but they do appear to be very rare,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer for DHS. “For residents who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, be in contact with your health care provider if you have a severe headache or new vision problems during the first two weeks after receiving the vaccine.”

According to a DHS press release, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines continue to remain extremely safe vaccines. Further, the DHS encourages everyone eligible to get the vaccine to continue with their vaccination, especially in light of variants. Also, Wisconsin continues to have a good supply of these vaccines; 96% of the state doses have been Pfizer and Moderna.

In Racine County, individuals with appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at public health department vaccination clinics are being offered the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, county spokesman Mark Schaaf said Tuesday morning.

Vaccine resources

All Wisconsin residents, age 16 and older, are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments are available at the state Department of Health Services (DHS) community clinic at Regency Mall (former Burlington Coat Factory site), 5538 Durand Ave., Racine. The clinic is open Tuesday through Saturday. That site gives the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for individuals ages 16 and 17. To book an appointment, visit: https://vaccinate.wi.gov/en-US/

Appointments for the Pfizer vaccine are also available, Wednesday through Friday, at the City of Racine Public Health Department clinic at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St. Visit: https://www.racinecoronavirus.org/racine-covid-19-vaccine/

The Central Racine County Health Department (CRCHD) has appointments Tuesday through Friday for the Pfizer vaccine at its clinic at 10005 Northwestern Ave., Franksville. Visit: https://crchd.com/covid-19-vaccine

Local pharmacies and health care providers also administer the COVID-19 vaccine. For a full list, visit: https://crchd.com/covid-19-vaccine.

The Racine County Aging and Disability Resource Center can help seniors and disabled adults with COVID-19 vaccine scheduling. Call 262-636-3200 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...