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Avera Medical Minute: Questions and answers about vaccines, masks and safe gatherings

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 4:36 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - In recent days, the CDC changed guidelines for wearing masks outdoors and changes have taken place with the administration of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Those are just some of the topics we cover in this question-and-answer series.

Avera Vice President of Clinical Quality Dr. David Basel offers insight and expertise as we navigate through the pandemic.

Q: With graduation season just a few weeks away, how do we safely celebrate with others?

A: With graduation ceremonies, what might be a great option that you can have that outdoor gathering with friends and families to celebrate that, graduate, and especially if those individuals are vaccinated, they’re going to be able to gather together. As long as it’s not too crowded of a setting and be a lot more comfortable with those vaccinated individuals.

Q: Doctor Basel, can you give us an update on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and the distribution here in South Dakota?

A: So the CDC subcommittee ACIP met Friday on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and I listened to that testimony, and it was really pretty interesting. They did some real good modeling because one of the reasons they stopped a couple of weeks ago is one they wanted to find out how many additional cases were maybe out there hasn’t been reported yet, and so the total number, ended up being 15 cases out of the 8 million doses given. The risk of not being vaccinated and having a complication from COVID is so, so much higher than the very rare risk of blood clots. Probably the best thing that came out of this was that physicians got some time to realize to be on the lookout for this because these types of blood clots are a little bit different and require a little bit different medication to treat them. And so, getting that awareness among the hospitals and physician community was an important part of this.

Q: Is there anything else that we need to know?

A: So far, Avera’s supply chain has been doing a wonderful job of keeping us a steady supply of needles and other supplies so at Avera anyway, we have not noticed that shortage as of yet. We’ve seen in the national news that there’s some worry about that, but we haven’t experienced that ourselves yet and we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

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