Health Nurse

Health Nurse Pam Petry holds a box of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which is available for administration at the Jennings County Health Department.

COVID-19 continues on the decline in Jennings County despite state and local governments lifting the mask mandate.

Last week the Jennings County Health Department decided to change their COVID-19 vaccine clinic hours and is now open Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The reason for this is due to the lack of appointments being made to receive the vaccine.

The clinic will still be located in the ground floor meeting room of the government building in Vernon. This clinic only administers the Moderna vaccine; people under the age of 18 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

In addition to the Health Department, Jennings County residents can register for their vaccinations at Walmart, Jay C and Walgreens. To schedule your appointment, visit myshot.org (you can also go directly to the Walmart, Kroger and Walgreens websites) or call 211.

Dr. Gregory Huemann from IU Health gave the JC Health Department the all-clear to release local food service workers from the mask mandate.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is now recommended by the CDC following additional review by medical experts. Women younger than age 50 should be aware of an increased risk for a rare but serious blood disorder.

Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available as supply lasts. The North Vernon Walgreens had a supply of Johnson & Johnson last week, but anyone who registered on their website only had the option of the Moderna vaccine. If patients called ahead, or even upon arrival, they could request the Johnson & Johnson. For any Federal Retail Pharmacies, which means certain retail pharmacies nationwide are receiving limited COVID-19 vaccine supply directly from the federal government, it is best to call them directly to ask if they have the one-dose vaccine available if you’re interested in getting vaccinated, as long as you haven’t already received your first dose of Moderna or Pfizer. Walgreens, Walmart and Jay C are all local Federal Retail Pharmacies.

It should be noted that you cannot interchange the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines; if you receive your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, you cannot then get your second shot using the Moderna.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is still learning about how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that cause COVID-19. Early data shows the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.

They’re researching how well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications and how well the vaccines keep people from spreading the disease, which is something their data supports to be true. Finally, the CDC is also studying how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

As they know more, the CDC will continue to update their recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Until then, they propose everyone—even people who’ve had their vaccines—should continue taking steps to protect themselves and others when recommended.

CDC has issued new guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated. You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart and gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.

However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.