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April 13 Weekly Meeting With USU President Noelle Cockett

Tom Williams here with Utah State University President Noelle Cockett with our weekly conversation here at Utah Public Radio. President Cockett, thanks so much for joining us.NC: My pleasure.


TW: So we want to talk about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Here's the information. Of the 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the United States, a rare and severe type of blood clot was reported in six women, 18 to 48, whose symptoms occurred six to 13 days after getting the shot. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration in a joint statement. 


In Utah 77,000 people have received the vaccine so far with no reports so far of blood clots, according to the Utah Department of Health. The CDC and FDA have temporarily suspended the Johnson &Johnson vaccine and Utah has followed suit. This affects some folks at USU because USU provided some space and manpower for vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson vaccine last Friday. So the word would be if you are one of these folks who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it's very, very rare but pay special attention to certain symptoms. I think severe headache, right? Abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath, I believe is what I'm reading.


NC: Very, very rare chance they do have the side effects of blood clots. And they're also recommending watch for headaches, tiredness, upset stomach and certainly to contact a doctor if any of those symptoms pop up after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 


So people should definitely watch for symptoms. Again, very, very rare. But the window where they're noticing this is about seven to 13 days, not that anyone should ignore symptoms if they don't happen right in that window, but some really important days would be April 16 to April 23. 


And as I understand it, not that I'm a physician, but the concern is that blood clots are often treated with heparin, and that in this particular case, when the blood caught is associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, heparin is not a good drug to treat the blood clot with. So anyone who does go in to work with their physician, very important to let them know when they had that Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


TW: This was run by the Bear River Health Department. So any notifications they do would come from them, I suppose about that?


NC: Yes, that's correct. When people are registering for our vaccination clinics, they are actually scheduling through Bear River. And we do not keep any record of who comes in. We are just verifying that they have registered through Bear River Health Department.


TW: Well, anything else you'd like to say today? 


NC: Well, again, I know we all are watching what happened with the Johnson & Johnson. But I hope people still continue to seek out the vaccination. I know that the articles I read, they anticipate in about a week to know the updates and direction they'll go with the Johnson & Johnson vaccination. 


In the meantime, though, we have 500 doses of the Pfizer that will be available by pre-scheduling at the Eccles Conference Center. And because that's a two dose regime, we're notifying people in that information that just was sent out, that if they're not in town, around that 21 to 28 day period where they should get their second vaccine, probably shouldn't get it on Friday. 


Bear River has indicated that for these two dose vaccines, they like the person to get the second dose at the same Bear River Health Department where they would get their first because the second dose is sent there based on the number of firsts they have. There are still plenty of appointments available, last I heard for the Pfizer.


TW: Well, Utah State University President Noelle Cockett has been with us once again. Thank you so much, President.


NC: And thank you for giving me the opportunity to share what we're doing here.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.