The Tompkins County Health Department will hold vaccination clinics this Thursday at the Ithaca Mall and Newfield Central School for those 18 and older — increasing its efforts to reach more rural areas as the percentage of people who have received at least one dose in the county surpasses 60 percent.
The Ithaca Mall Vaccination Clinic will run from 8 a.m. to noon, while the Newfield Clinic will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Both clinics will use the Johnson & Johnson vaccines previously allocated to Tompkins County.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recently called to resume distributing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after pausing these vaccinations in mid-April, citing cases of blood clots found in six women who received the vaccine.
According to Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County public health director, the local health department’s decision to resume Johnson & Johnson vaccinations was based on the CDC and FDA’s review that said the vaccine’s benefits far outweigh its risks.
“This vaccine is safe, there have been extremely rare instances of blood clots amongst the U.S. population, far less than what’s historically associated with some other medications,” Kruppa wrote in a Monday press release. “The health system and federal and state agencies monitor all vaccine safety closely, and we have guidance on who should be aware of risks and what to be on the lookout for.”
During the three-week period after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, TCHD recommends seeking medical care immediately if a person develops severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain and any easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the injection site.
The health department encourages women younger than 50 years old to seek COVID-19 vaccination options other than Johnson & Johnson, as this age group has shown a rare but increased risk of developing a blood clotting disorder, the press release read.
TCHD urges everyone eligible to sign up for the Tompkins County COVID-19 Vaccine Registry, as they will be contacted when appointments are available.
“We need everyone to ensure our friends, family members, and neighbors have the information they need to get vaccinated — whether it’s sharing an FAQ or helping someone get on the registry or to an appointment,” Kruppa wrote. “The push to community immunity will take all of us.”