After Park County was an early leader in vaccination in the state and despite anyone over 16 being eligible, only three people had signed up for a mass vaccination clinic in Cody as of Tuesday.
“We’re running into this problem where we’re not getting people signing up,” said Park County Public Health Nursing Manager Bill Crampton said. “I don’t know where we’re at right now but it’s a little frustrating.”
Crampton said last week Public Health requested new shipments of the vaccine be delayed because of the slow uptake. As of Monday, more than 7,500 people in the county have been fully vaccinated, while another 9,000 or so have received their first dose.
Public Health is also looking at ways to modify the current delivery methods because attendance at the clinic has been so low. Crampton is still encouraging people to take advantage of vaccination opportunities with partner pharmacies like the ones at Walmart and Albertsons, and said that Public Health would also be continuing to offer the shots.
Park County may be approaching critical mass with the number of people vaccinated, but Crampton said that just increases the uncertainty of the future.
“There’s still a lot of unknowns about this whole thing,” Crampton said of the pandemic. “The more people we have vaccinated, the fewer questions we’ll have out there.”
One of those unknowns is the long-term effects of contracting the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control published last week a report on “Long COVID,” a series of symptoms that those who got COVID-19 may still experience long after they were infected. Symptoms include the mild like loss of taste or smell to more serious conditions like heart palpitations and depression.
The Mayo Clinic also reports that some who had COVID-19 also had damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys, as well as an increased incidence of blood clots.
The simplest way to avoid those problems, the Centers for Disease Control says, is to not get COVID in the first place and get vaccinated.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 14 county residents had active cases of COVID-19.
On the heels of this report came the news the U.S. was temporarily halting the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CDC released a joint statement Tuesday about the decision, noting six women who received the vaccine (out of nearly 7 million people in total) had developed a “rare and severe” type of blood clot shortly after receiving the J&J vaccine.
Both the CDC and the FDA are investigating the cases and are recommending the pause “out of an abundance of caution,” the agencies said in the joint statement.
Park County has fully vaccinated the sixth-most people of any county in Wyoming, with about 25% of residents being fully vaccinated. Wyoming as a whole, however, is only an average state for vaccinations, with about 31% of people as a whole being fully vaccinated.