COVID vaccine - web only

Doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared in March during a mass vaccination clinic held at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center.

BENTON TOWNSHIP — The Berrien County Health Department announced Monday it will reinstitute the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The first clinic is set for May 4 at the BCHD office in Benton Township, according to a news release.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), recommended a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 13 after reports of an extremely rare blood clotting syndrome in some people.

The pause was made to conduct a safety review of the vaccine.

The FDA and CDC determined late last week that the available data shows that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.

In addition to resuming the J&J vaccine, the BCHD will welcome walk-ins at COVID-19 vaccine clinics beginning in May.

The BCHD recommends people still make an appointment to guarantee vaccine availability by either visiting www.bchdmi.org/COVID19 or calling 800-815-5485.

Residents needing a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are now able to schedule an appointment for themselves online, but will be asked to present their vaccination record card at the time of their appointment.

Anyone self-scheduling for a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination should pay attention that they choose a clinic offering the same type of vaccine received for their first dose, according to the news release.

As of Sunday, 44.8 percent of Berrien County residents (16 and up) have received at least their first dose of vaccine, while 32.7 percent are fully vaccinated, according to state figures.

Meijer announced in a news release Monday that it is now offering a COVID-19 vaccine walk-up program.

Every Meijer store will have a minimum of 100 doses a week for customers to get the vaccine at their convenience. Doses will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis.

People can still register to get an appointment by texting COVID to 75049 or by visiting https://clinic.meijer.com/.

Spectrum Health Lakeland now has appointments available for a Pfizer vaccine clinic May 5 at Watervliet High School, 450 E. St. Joseph St., Watervliet.

Watervliet Public Schools Superintendent Ric Seager previously said this is a day when students are learning virtually, so the building will have less people in it. He said since it’s a Pfizer clinic, students 16 and up are encouraged to attend.

To schedule an appointment, visit www.spectrumhealthlakeland.org/covid19.

Weekend numbers

Berrien County recorded 117 new COVID-19 cases over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, continuing the slight downward trend in new cases. Last weekend, the county had recorded 150 new cases.

The county also recorded 147 new recoveries and one new death over the three days.

With deaths and recoveries, Berrien County is at about 1,505 active COVID-19 cases. That’s down slightly from last Monday when the county had about 1,513 active cases.

Spectrum Health Lakeland reported having 37 COVID-positive patients admitted on Saturday, and 35 on Sunday and Monday. Last Monday, the hospital had 46 COVID patients admitted.

Van Buren County also recorded a new COVID-19 death over the weekend, bringing the county’s death toll to 98. No new deaths were recorded in Cass County.

Van Buren County recorded 67 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, while Cass County recorded 33.

State reports

The state on Monday reported two recent COVID-19 outbreaks at area schools. School outbreaks are defined as two or more COVID-19 cases who may have shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households.

Niles High School had two recent student cases and Coloma High School had five recent student cases.

No outbreaks were reported at any Cass or Van Buren county schools.

The state also updated its COVID-19 report for long-term care facilities on Monday.

No recent resident cases were reported at any Berrien, Cass or Van Buren county facility.

Van Buren County did have two recent resident deaths. Berrien County had eight recent staff COVID-19 cases and Van Buren County had three recent staff cases.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman