Johnson and Johnson has announced that it supports giving a second dose of its COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine currently has only one recommended dose.
The company said on Tuesday that those who get a second dose, or a booster shot, would be better protected against COVID.
The second dose would have to be approved by the FDA. Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System, said Tuesday that it sounded promising, but they have to wait for the FDA to study it.
According to a Johnson and Johnson news release, a booster given at two months showed 94 percent protection against symptomatic, moderate to severe-critical COVID-19 in the United States.
The company said a booster shot at six months showed a 12-fold increase in antibodies four weeks after the booster was received. To see the news release, visit https://www.jnj.com/johnson-johnson-announces-real-world-evidence-and-phase-3-data-confirming-strong-and-long-lasting-protection-of-single-shot-covid-19-vaccine-in-the-u-s.
Also discussed at the KU Health System morning medical update was the spike of cases in Georgia and what this region could do to avoid ending up like it.
Dr. Amber Schmidtke, chair of natural sciences and mathematics at the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, who formerly taught at Mercer University School of Medicine in the microbiology and immunology department in Georgia, said Georgia had a peak in cases during the Labor Day holiday. Cases are now starting to decline there, but hospitalizations and deaths are still high, as they are some weeks behind case increases. Georgia should expect high numbers for the rest of the month, she added.
How did Georgia end up with such high numbers of cases and hospitalizations? Dr. Schmidtke said there were low vaccination rates and low testing.
“Georgia never really took this pandemic seriously, which is really unfortunate because the CDC headquarters is in Atlanta,” she said.
The state had a significant difference in rural and urban attitudes toward vaccination, with Atlanta not having the same high increases as the more rural areas. According to Dr. Schmidtke, public health was underfunded in the state before the pandemic.
“Reduced testing capacity and lukewarm efforts to vaccinate your population is a recipe for disaster,” she said. “All of this was predictable, but it was also very much avoidable. So I hope the lessons that we’ve learned from Georgia can be applied here to avoid this similar loss of life.”
Increased vaccinations and testing will keep the numbers here down, she said.
There was a nine-week surge in Georgia and also in Missouri, she said. Cases in Missouri and Kansas have risen but not declined as fast as in the South, she said. Possibly a factor in that would be that schools opened in August here.
It is a concern that as they head into the winter months, there is a perception that the pandemic is over, and people are not as risk-averse, she said. It is concerning to see people gathering together, she said.
Dr. Hawkinson said as the weather cools and people gather more indoors, it will play a great part, but they need to keep working on vaccination. That will keep communities protected, the economy protected and will keep kids in school, he said.
Within the next few weeks, vaccination for children under 12 could be authorized, and that will be another step toward keeping the community healthy, he said.
For more details, visit www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/553798539181590.
Vaccines, tests available
The former Kmart building at 7836 State Ave., a Unified Government Health Department vaccination site, will be open for testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and for free COVID-19 vaccinations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Walk-ins are accepted. There are incentives being offered for Wyandotte County residents, while supplies last. See WycoVaccines.org.
COVID-19 testing from WellHealth will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Kansas National Guard Armory, 100 S. 20th. Appointments are necessary. The site is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To make an appointment, including a same-day appointment, visit https://www.gogettested.com/kansas.
COVID-19 vaccines and testing are available from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Vibrant Health Cordell D. Meeks Jr. Clinic, 4313 State Ave. No appointments are necessary.
Mobile vaccines can be requested online at WycoVaccines.org or by calling 3-1-1 (913-573-5311). For more information on the Unified Government Health Department’s vaccine schedule, see WycoVaccines.org.
COVID-19 vaccines and tests are available at other locations in Wyandotte County, including some pharmacies. For locations and availability, visit www.vaccines.gov.
Free vaccinations at KU Health System are open to the public, and appointments are required. Current patients may use MyChart to make an appointment. Others may call 913-588-1227 or visit kansashealthsystem.com/vaccine to make an appointment to get vaccinated. KU Health System currently is vaccinating residents of Kansas and Missouri who are 12 or older, by appointment only. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian throughout the appointment.
Case numbers reported
The University of Kansas Health System reported 71 total COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, Sept. 21, an increase of four since Sept. 20, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. Forty patients with the active virus were inpatients on Tuesday. an increase of five from Monday. Seventeen patients were in the intensive care unit, an increase of two since Monday. Nine patients were on ventilators, no change from Monday. Thirty-one other patients were still hospitalized from COVID, but were out of the acute infection phase, a decrease of one from Monday.
Wyandotte County reported a cumulative 23,626 cases on Tuesday, Sept. 21, an increase of 35 cases since Monday, Sept. 20, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There were a cumulative total of 360 deaths on Tuesday, no change since Monday.
On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the Unified Government Health Department reported that 47.98 percent of Wyandotte County residents had received at least one dose of vaccine. Those completing their vaccinations totaled about 41.34 percent.
The percentage of Wyandotte County residents who were age 12 and older who had received at least one dose was 59 percent.
The Mid-America Regional Council reported 210,955 cases on Tuesday in Greater Kansas City, a nine-county area. There were a total of 2,834 deaths. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 121.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 399,369 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Monday, Sept. 20, an increase of 2,462 since Friday, Sept. 17. There was a total of 5,916 cumulative deaths reported statewide, an increase of 115 since Sept. 17.
The KDHE reported 73,571 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Johnson County on Sept. 20, an increase of 396 since Sept. 17. Leavenworth County had 9,771 cases on Sept. 20, an increase of 71 since Sept. 17. Sedgwick County (the Wichita area) reported 73,912 cases on Sept. 20, an increase of 678 since Sept. 17.
On Monday, the KHDE reported 11,268 cumulative cases in Douglas County (the Lawrence area), an increase of 81 since Sept. 17. Riley County (the Manhattan area) had 7,457 cumulative cases, an increase of 16 since Sept. 17. Shawnee County (the Topeka area) had 23,959 cumulative cases, an increase of 144 cases since Sept. 17.
On Tuesday night, there were a cumulative 42,410,316 COVID-19 cases in the United States, with a cumulative 678,406 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Visit gogettested.com/Kansas and https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19 for more testing sites.
Wyandotte County residents may contact the Health Department at wycohelp.org to sign up for a test to be delivered to their home.
For more details about free COVID-19 testing offered by the UG Health Department, visit https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept or call 3-1-1.
To view details about the extension of the mask order in KCK until Nov. 18, visit https://www.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/ug_extendsmaskmandate_nr_09102021.pdf.