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Mississippi gives go-ahead for Johnson & Johnson shots

(AP) Mississippi state health officials say they will allow clinics to continue using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because they believe the benefits outweigh any potential risk.

WJTV-TV reports that health officials on Wednesday said hospitals will distribute fact sheets to those signed up for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine regarding side effects and options for other vaccines.

U.S. health officials recently lifted an 11-day pause in distribution of the vaccine to investigate rare cases of people getting blood clots after receiving it.

“The important piece of that is to make sure people are aware of the small risk that has been seen primarily in women 18-49 years of age,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said. “Make them aware there are other vaccines.”

Almost two-thirds of Mississippi residents 65 and older have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Still, overall numbers of inoculations are lagging in recent weeks, reflecting a lack of buy-in on the vaccine by young people.

The state Department of Health reports more than 132,000 people in Mississippi were vaccinated the week of Feb. 27. Since then, numbers of vaccinations have dropped each week. Last week, around 74,400 were vaccinated in the state.