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Kern Public Health reaffirms amenities for public in fight against COVID-19

The Kern County Public Health Services Department is reminding residents that protection from COVID-19 is not far away.

In a news release, the health department reaffirmed that administration of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine can be re-implemented by local providers after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted the pause on its use last week.

The J&J vaccine was put on hold after the federal government uncovered 15 vaccine recipients who developed a highly unusual kind of blood clot out of nearly 8 million people given the shot. All were women, most under age 50. Three died, and seven remain hospitalized.

Ultimately, however, federal health officials decided that J&J’s one-and-done vaccine is critical to fight the pandemic — and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women decide if they should use that shot or an alternative.

Also, the Kern public health department reminded residents that it will be launching a COVID-19 vaccine nurse hotline that is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The department asks the community to call or text 661-677-4177 to ask vaccine-related questions.

And, additionally, the Kern County Fairgrounds Mass Vaccination Clinic offers the Pfizer vaccine, the only authorized vaccine for individuals 16 and 17 years old, the health department said. The clinic operates Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments can be made at www.MyTurn.ca.gov but are not required.