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Mobile “Vaxi Taxi” offers COVID-19 shots in Wyoming

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Jhala French packs up the Teton County Health Department’s Vaxi taxi after its stop at Jackson Hole Airport on Monday afternoon. The mobile vaccination team stopped in Kelly, Moran and Moose that day and spent Tuesday in Wilson and Alta. The pop-up clinic will make two stops on Wednesday, first at Hoback Market from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then at The Bird from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. | Ryan Dorgan, Jackson Hole News & Guide

JACKSON, Wyoming (AP) – With 80% of adults over 18 in Teton County fully vaccinated, vaccinated people now make up the majority of the community. Health authorities are now launching an innovative vaccination campaign to further increase community protection against COVID-19.

“The whole goal is to try to reach people, to make it easier for people,” said Rachael Wheeler, Public Health Response Coordinator.

The Ministry of Health’s new “Vaxi Taxi”, a repurposed START bus that has been converted into a mobile vaccine clinic, aims to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines by reaching remote populations who are unable to inject at the city health department.

“It’s very convenient for us to have a more mobile unit that we can easily stand in,” said Wheeler.

Nurses check in patients under a tent outside the bus and question patients about possible COVID-19 symptoms or recent contact with infected people. Nurses also patiently describe side effects that might occur after vaccination, usually a sore arm and mild fever, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

Patients then head into the Vaxi taxi, where they receive their shots in the seats that passengers normally use for transportation. The Vaxi-Taxi has two tables that are easy to assemble and disassemble, seats for vaccine recipients, medical forms and equipment for vaccine distribution, and a team of friendly professionals waiting to administer the vaccines.

Outside there are chairs under a tent so that the recipients can rest in the shade while waiting after the recordings.

The health department has used mobile clinics in the past to support the public with flu vaccines. Usually their mobile clinics only transport supplies to vaccination sites like the Jackson Hole Senior Center.

Operation with the Vaxi-Taxi enables the team to hold clinics in more locations in the valley, as well as more efficient facilities and easy cleaning.

Bryce Villalobos, a station agent at Jackson Hole Airport, picked up his vaccine in a Vaxi taxi in the Jackson Airport parking lot on Monday evening. His chance at work was bittersweet as the first COVID-19 death in Teton County was Bill Sweney, an airport worker with whom Villalobos had worked personally.

Some members of the community, like Villalobos, may find it more difficult to schedule vaccination appointments due to lack of transportation or scheduling conflicts that prevent them from visiting the Department of Health clinic while it is open. By offering additional options and websites for vaccinations, the Vaxi-Taxi removes these supply barriers.

“I worked 12 to 13 hour days, I didn’t have time to make an appointment,” said Villalobos.

Appointments are not required for the Vaxi-Taxi, so everyone is welcome to show up at any stop on the route. You can find detailed timetable information at TetonCountyWY.gov/vaxitaxi.

The mobile clinic offers both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The Moderna vaccine consists of two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only one. Both are available to people aged 18 and over.

Anyone under the age of 18 needs the Pfizer shot, which is only available from the health department, as it needs to be stored refrigerated.

The Vaxi-Taxi also works directly with employers and encourages employers who are interested to coordinate with the health department to get the Vaxi-Taxi to their business.

“Some companies have already reached out to us specifically so we are reaching out and will continue to reach out to different companies to see where the demand is,” said Wheeler.

On Wednesday the Vaxi Taxi drove south with stops at Hoback Market and The Bird.

“Increasing equity and access is important for public health,” said Wheeler. “We have the feeling that the Vaxi-Taxi does exactly that.”

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Pandemic

5 things to know for September 27: Covid-19, Congress, Germany, immigration, Huawei

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Pandemic

US has enough COVID-19 vaccines for boosters, kids’ shots

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Thanks to the robust supply in the US, President Joe Biden was able to promise an additional 500 million Covid-19 vaccinations from Pfizer this week to share with the world, doubling the United States’s global contribution. Relief groups and health organizations have urged the United States and other countries to improve access to vaccines in countries where even the most vulnerable have not had a chance.

One of the challenges that countries face is not to order too many cans and to leave them unused. Several states with low vaccination rates, including Idaho and Kansas, have reported throwing away thousands of expired doses or having difficulty using vaccines that are about to expire this fall.

While most vaccines can be left unopened on the shelf for months, the clock starts ticking as soon as a vial is opened. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, vaccines can only be used for six to 12 hours, depending on the manufacturer.

Moderna vaccines are available in 11 to 15 dose vials. Pfizer vials contain up to six doses and Johnson & Johnson vials contain five doses.

“We will see more cans that go unused over time,” said Wisconsin Health Secretary Karen Timberlake. “They come in multidose files. They don’t come in nice, neat individual portion packs. “

State health officials said they tried to request only what health care providers and pharmacies expect from federal supplies. Those numbers have declined since vaccines became generally available in the spring.

But US officials – hoping some of the unvaccinated people will change their minds – are trying to keep enough vaccines on hand for all Americans to get.

This balancing act is difficult and can cause dismay around the world as the US is sitting on unused vaccines while many countries in places like Africa cannot get enough vaccines.

“Someone who sits in a country with few resources to access vaccines and sees people in the US go to a pharmacy and get that vaccine and decide against it, it is bound to cause grief,” said Jen Kates, senior vice president and Director of Global Health and HIV Policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which represents health officials in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia and the US territories, said officials expect the available doses of COVID-19 vaccines and manufacturers’ ability to supply more will meet demand across the country.

“I think states have tried to plan as if everyone were being offered a refresher,” he said, suggesting that they were over-prepared for closer recommendations from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California, for example, estimated earlier this month that it would need to deliver an additional 63 million doses by the end of 2022 – if initial vaccinations were approved for children under the age of 12 and boosters were open to everyone.

U.S. health officials late Thursday advocated booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for all Americans aged 65 and over – along with tens of millions of younger people at higher risk from the coronavirus because of health conditions or work.

California has the lowest transmission rate of any state with nearly 40 million residents, and nearly 70% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated. This means that almost 12 million people are not or not fully vaccinated.

Dr. California Health Secretary Mark Ghaly said the state will rely largely on pharmacies and family doctors to provide refresher courses to seniors, while some large counties and health groups will use mass vaccination sites.

In Pennsylvania, more than 67% of residents over 18 are fully vaccinated. Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said health officials now have “two missions”: continuing to convince people to get vaccinated and serving those who want a booster or initial vaccination.

“Pennsylvania is being prepared,” said Beam. “And we will have the right levels of vaccines and vaccinees to meet that demand.”

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Pandemic

0 deaths, 282 new cases of COVID-19 in ND, active cases statewide are 3,448

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The North Dakota Department of Health on Sunday morning confirmed 282 new cases of COVID-19 in the state during testing on Jan.

The number of currently active COVID-19 cases in the state is 3,448 as of September 25, 242 fewer than on September 24.

The last time active positives were this high was December 10, 2020 when 3,896 active cases were reported.

Active positive results peaked on November 13, 2020 at 10,409. By July 5, they dropped to 120, but have risen steadily since then.

Of the 282 new positive results on September 25th:

  • 58 were in Burleigh County
  • 46 were in Cass County
  • 29 were in Stark County
  • 24 were in Ward County
  • 20 were in Morton County
  • 19 were in Williams County
  • 12 were in McKenzie County

No deaths were reported on September 25. The North Dakota Department of Health says it is no longer providing public information on COVID-19 deaths by gender, age and location.

So far, a total of 1,604 people have died as a result of COVID-19 in North Dakota.

According to official death records, 1,312 of these are directly attributable to COVID-19. In another 277 deaths, COVID-19 is not the leading cause of death. A total of 15 death registers are pending.

Recoveries and active cases

The health department reports that 124,420 people of the 129,472 positive cases are considered recovered, an increase of 567 people from September 24th.

The number of people reported recovering from COVID-19 on September 25 (567) is higher than the number of new COVID-19 cases reported that day (282).

Hospital stays

130 people are currently hospitalized on September 25 due to COVID-19, 10 more than on September 24. A total of 5,134 people have been hospitalized since records of the pandemic began in March 2020.

Breakthrough infections and hospitalizations

As of September 25, the total number of North Dakotans fully vaccinated was 336,166. A total of 544 people who were fully vaccinated tested positive for COVID-19.

A total of 16 people who were fully vaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized.

More information about this data can be found directly on the NDDoH website by clicking here.

Reinfections

As of September 25, there have been 500 reinfections with COVID-19 since June 27, 2021. The NDDoH does not report whether these people who received reinfection were vaccinated.

Other dates

COVID-19 cases have been reported in all 53 North Dakota counties since the persecution began.

Those aged 20 to 29 have the most positive cases among those tested so far.

According to the data, 65 percent of all North Dakotans have been tested for COVID-19.

The results listed today cover all tests performed the day before.

You can read more about the daily statistics and other information and resources related to COVID-19 on the North Dakota Department of Health website here.

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