Credit: Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Biden administration officials say Tuesday’s recommended pause in Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine should boost confidence that governments are closely scrutinizing potential side effects. That includes the severe type of blood clot — reported in just six out of 6.8 million nationwide injections — that prompted the pause for study. But some state officials worry the pause will only fuel vaccine hesitancy, thwarting efforts to contain more contagious variants of the coronavirus, POLITICO reports

“CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that the pause had the threefold benefit of alerting health care providers on how to treat the blood clot, investigating whether there were additional cases and letting a CDC independent advisory committee review the clotting incidents, Rachel Roubein and Dan Goldberg report. “The question is whether the nuanced messages over safety and protocols will be lost in a sea of memes and disinformation.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Food and Drug Administration didn’t bar states from administering Johnson’s & Johnson’s vaccine, but their recommended pause effectively halted the brand’s use nationwide, including in Wisconsin. Milwaukee-area health departments alone would have otherwise administered more than 1,200 Johnson & Johnson vaccines this week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Still, the brand accounts for just 4% of total shots administered in Wisconsin, according to Department of Health Services data.  

The pause is expected to stretch at least a week longer after a committee of independent experts on Wednesday asked for more information before voting on whether the vaccinations should resume. 

Top Stories

Madison resident Chia Yang, 56, gets her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at a clinic put on by The Hmong Institute, in Madison, Wis., on March 9, 2021. Credit: Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch

Sharpening resistance: States fret pause in J&J vaccine could drive up hesitancy POLITICO 

Milwaukee area health departments would have likely administered more than 1,200 Johnson & Johnson vaccines this week Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Western warnings tarnish COVID vaccines the world badly needs The New York Times 

‘I think we are all losing’: Neenah mask mandate ordinance withdrawn after public reaction Appleton Post-Crescent 

Wisconsin health officials: Don’t let vaccine side effects deter you from getting second dose TMJ4 News 

After a year away, the youngest MPS students returned to school buildings. But there are still so many questions. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

End of utility shutoff moratorium means tens of thousands of Wisconsinites have bills coming due  WPR 

‘We are not out of the woods yet’: State Senator Chris Larson says he tested positive for COVID-19 TMJ4 News 

Kenosha Public Health mobile vaccine efforts will ramp up as clinic appointments go unfilled Kenosha News 

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Quotable

“It is obvious to me that a fair number of this community actually are taking delight in publicly putting others at risk. …That is deeply saddening to me, but it is unfortunately the reality in which we are living.”

Neenah Common Council member Danae Steele, after backlash prompted the withdrawal of a mask mandate ordinance, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent

“Telling people that they have to wear a mask is not appropriate. …I’m so happy to hear that we’re looking at this as an advisory and a guideline and not crossing the line of civil liberty.”

Neenah resident Tamara Hasz, as quoted by the Appleton Post-Crescent

Data to note

Click on the image above to see Wisconsin DHS COVID-19 vaccine data, which is updated daily.

Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Thursday that 38.5% of Wisconsinites have received at least once vaccine dose, including 78.9% of those ages 65 and older. Meanwhile, 25.8% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated, including 71.2% of those older than 65. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents. 

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed — particularly as more contagious virus variants spread. On Thursday, the state DHS reported a 7-day average of 808 new cases. The state also reported three new COVID-19 deaths, pushing the full toll to 6,698. 

WisContext offers this visualization. 

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS has this interactive map of vaccine providers across Wisconsin. Vaccinations are generally by appointment only and it may take time to schedule appointments with providers due to limited supplies of vaccines. Curious about how well your county is doing on vaccinations? The Washington Post created this searchable map

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatch.org

A COVID-stricken UW linebacker feared for his future last fall. Now he expects to be a valuable contributor. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

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