Vaccine numbers climb as officials eye cases

About 42 percent of Louisa County residents aged 16 and over had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Monday. 

State officials plan to continue vaccinating residents with the Pfizer and Moderna shots. People who were scheduled to receive the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be contacted to change their appointments, said Dr. Danny Avula, state vaccination coordinator. 

“We are closely monitoring the actions by the federal government to pause all Johnson & Johnson vaccinations while it investigates an extremely rare possible side effect,” said Dr. Danny Avula, state vaccination coordinator. 

People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider or call 911 if it is a medical emergency.

The Blue Ridge Health District says new COVID-19 infections continue to be relatively low compared to some parts of the country where cases and hospitalizations have risen sharply in recent weeks.

“I think the telling will be the cases we get this week,” said Dr. Denise Bonds, health district director. “Kids will be coming back from spring break and we will be able to tell if they return with infections from being exposed.”

Bonds said she remains concerned about populations that refuse the vaccine; as an example, she said numerous guards at Fluvanna Correctional Center have said they don’t want to be vaccinated.

“It’s an effective vaccine that can keep them out of the hospital,” Bonds said. “You’ll see us in the next few weeks trying to allay their fears.”

Meanwhile, vaccine clinics continue in Louisa County on an appointment basis. The Louisa NAACP chapter, together with area churches and the health district, will hold their third Saturday clinic on April 17 at the middle school. Deborah Coles, NAACP president, said they have registered 1,300 people for vaccines through a grassroots outreach process.  

“We reached out to the health district in February and said, ‘We’ve got to get some help for elderly people who don’t know how to use a computer,’” Coles said. “We’re pleased with where we are.”

The clinic initially planned to administer Johnson & Johnson vaccines along with the Pfizer and Moderna options. Coles said most people she has spoken with are eager to get a vaccine, even if they have to come back for a second shot.

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