WVU pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccinations based on joint CDC and FDA recommendation

West Virginia University in Morgantown and Beckley will pause administration of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine based on a joint recommendation released today (April 13) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Out of more than 6.8 million doses administered in the U.S., six reported cases of a rare and severe blood clot in individuals who have received the J&J vaccine are being monitored.

(Note: To date Potomac State College has utilized only the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines on campus with second vaccinations to be administered in upcoming weeks.)

“The finding of abnormal blood clotting is extremely rare in citizens receiving the J&J vaccine, and in response to FDA and CDC guidance, and acting out of a great amount of caution, we will pause vaccinations with the J&J product for now, "Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean of WVU Health Sciences and West Virginia’s Coronavirus Czar, said. "The fact that CDC and FDA are acting out of caution for 6 clotting episodes in 6.8 million doses given should reassure West Virginia residents that we are watching any and all associated findings in those vaccinated to make sure safety is our priority.”

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is convening a meeting on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. Until that process is complete, WVU will pause in the use of the J&J vaccine on all campuses out of an abundance of caution. WVU will work with those who have appointments to receive the J&J doses, including a clinic scheduled for Wednesday, April 14, to reschedule for Pfizer and Moderna doses based on availability.

WVU administered 846 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine during a clinic held on Thursday, April 8 at the Student Recreation Center on the Morgantown Campus. All other clinics held at WVU have administered doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

The type of blood clot observed is called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and is seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

“We know that the key to saving lives and improving outcomes from COVID-19 in West Virginia is continuing to choose to be vaccinated,” Marsh said. “We have sufficient Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to continue our goal of vaccinating all West Virginia residents, and the key to our success or failure to save lives and protect West Virginia citizens is the number of people choosing to get vaccinated.”

WVU strongly recommends all students and employees be vaccinated for COVID-19. If you have questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, the University suggests speaking with your primary care physician or a representative from WVU Medicine Student Health

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Potomac State volleyball punches ticket to national tournament

Reprinted with permission from The Cumberland Times-News.

SCRANTON, Pa. — WVU Potomac State College volleyball is firing on all cylinders at the just right time. The Catamounts overcame a defeat in the first set to win the next three and defeat Raritan Valley to win the NJCAA Division II East District championship, sending Potomac State to the national tournament for the first time since the school made back-to-back appearances in 2016 and 2017.

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WVU Potomac State College students will use 3D anatomy technology in fall 2021

University Potomac State College’s anatomy and physiology courses and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum will get the opportunity to engage with 3D anatomy technology.

Potomac State College was recently awarded a grant to purchase 100 subscriptions to Complete Anatomy (3D 4Medical) through the West Virginia (W.Va.) Rural Health Initiative: W.Va. Public Undergraduate Programs Grant Opportunity sponsored by the W.Va. Higher Education Policy Commission.

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Help Bridge the Reading Gap this Summer: Serve as an AmeriCorps Member!

The WVU Energy Express program will provide a great opportunity for college students interested in helping to bridge the reading gap this summer for youths. As an AmeriCorps member, you can earn money toward college while helping to enhance literacy skills for students in Mineral County.

Energy Express is an award-winning, a six-week reading and nutrition program. This summer the program will help children entering 1st through 3rd grades overcome the ‘summer slide’ that occurs when youths fall behind academically, while also providing nutritious meals for the students.

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WVU opposes potential campus carry legislation

Dear West Virginia University Campus Community,

I wanted to share with you a letter I sent to members of the West Virginia Senate earlier today regarding the potential campus carry legislation being contemplated by the West Virginia Legislature. This is an important issue for our campus and we will continue to share updates and information so I encourage you to monitor email, UNews MOUNTAINEER E-News and upcoming editions of Under The Dome. If you wish to share your thoughts on the potential legislation, call or email West Virginia State Senators .


Dear Members of the West Virginia Senate,

There have been no less than four bills introduced during this legislative session that would limit the authority of our Board of Governors to regulate the presence of firearms on our campuses. Providing a safe learning environment for students is the supreme responsibility of any university. For that reason, West Virginia University opposes these pieces of legislation, which in varying forms would allow individuals licensed to carry concealed weapons to carry them on college and university campuses.

We believe that deadly weapons have no place on our campuses, except in the hands of law enforcement personnel or others authorized by the University. And we have always believed that local control by our Board of Governors is the best basis for decisions about security on our campuses around the state.

Under the current system that bans weapons, our well-trained law enforcement staff does an excellent job keeping campuses safe for students, faculty, staff, campus visitors and all those who attend athletic events. Many law enforcement officers believe “campus carry” policies endanger their own lives and make it much more difficult for police to protect the safety of all.

Young adults, who comprise most of our 30,000 students, are still developing emotionally and often engage in conduct that would be made significantly more dangerous by concealed weapons. In this environment, the right to carry concealed guns can increase chances of homicide and suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college age young adults.

At a time when we are seeing more students facing mental health challenges and needing additional mental healthcare, now is not the time to insert firearms into what are already trying situations on campus.

A passionate interplay of ideas enlivens higher education institutions. The presence of guns would have a chilling effect in many situations, from contentious classroom discussions to meetings with faculty members about grades. According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, “right to carry” laws have been associated with higher rates of firearm workplace homicides.

I have heard firsthand that the presence of guns on campus would discourage many talented students and faculty members from joining our learning community or have those who are here look elsewhere.

We also note that some of these pieces of legislation do not protect our most sensitive areas, including classrooms, patient care areas, large-capacity arenas, areas with research involving chemicals, and campus residence halls.

West Virginia University does currently permit guns on campus in some situations, always with awareness and oversight by the University Police Department. For example, guns are essential to certain academic programs, such as Forensic and Investigative Science, and in athletic competition by our Rifle Team. In unique circumstances, such as a specific and immediate death threat against an individual, the president and the University Police Department can grant a waiver allowing someone to carry a weapon.

Another authorized gun on campus is the traditional musket that our Mountaineer mascot carries at University events. The Mountaineer represents West Virginia’s heritage, and our University takes pride in honoring that heritage and the rights of everyone on campus. Above all, as our state’s land-grant university, we advance the right of all Mountaineers to learn, teach, work and speak without fear in a safe, secure environment.

We urge state lawmakers to reject these pieces of legislation.

Sincerely,

E. Gordon Gee

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Upcoming Virtual STEM Festival, March 13, to include snakes, frogs

Kylee Timbrook with Jim Freganaro, wildlife biologist

Kylee Timbrook, right, got the opportunity to touch a snake during one of Mineral County’s prior STEM Festivals. Jim Freganaro, wildlife biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, left, will be a presenter during this year’s Virtual STEM Festival, to be held Saturday, March 13. Participants will get to “hear” like a snake and will learn the differences between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. 

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Higher education faculty, staff 40 and older to receive additional COVID-19 vaccine as part of state expansion

Gov. Jim Justice announced yesterday (March 3) that higher education faculty and staff ages 40 and older will now be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Thank you to Governor Justice for including higher education in this newest expansion of vaccination availability in West Virginia; we will assist the State in any way we can with distribution to our faculty and staff across the West Virginia University system,” President Gordon Gee said. 

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