Concerns over vaccine – safety – availability causing anxiety
Feb. 18, 2021 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Because COVID-19 has become heavily politicized, worries about the government or manufacturers pushing out distribution before it’s ready and problems scheduling vaccinations are causing anxiety, especially for older at risk adults. Listed here is valuable information and links to important websites.
If you’re 65 or older and plan to get vaccinated you’re now eligible to get the vaccine in Michigan.
Vaccines to prevent coronavirus COVID-19 are perhaps the best hope for ending the pandemic. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue authorizing emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines, it’s best to research and find out about the benefits of the vaccines, how they work, and the possible side effects. Michigan is currently in phase 1B, which includes those age 65 and older and front line essential workers.
Bridge Michigan reports the demand for COVID-19 vaccinations is outpacing the speed of distribution and it will take until at least mid-May for 50 percent of the state’s eligible population to be vaccinated, even with the recent purchase of another 200 million vaccines by the Biden administration. They say the state has distributed 1.1 million doses of the vaccine, inoculating 11 percent of the population, and rank 33rd in the nation.
Medical experts attest that the risk of side effects is very low and the vaccines are safe.
“The safety of these vaccines has been studied extensively. They’ve been tested now in about 75,000 patients in total, and the incidence of adverse effects is very, very low,” said Andrew Badley, M.D., COVID-19 Research Task Force Chair, Mayo Clinic, in a recent release.
“The side effects to the vaccines are very mild. Some of them are quite common. Those include injection site reactions, fevers, chills, and aches and pains. In a very, very small subset of patients — those patients who’ve had prior allergic reactions — some patients can experience allergic reaction to the vaccine. Right now we believe that number is exceedingly low.”
Q & A list of important facts regarding the vaccine:
Blue Cross, Blue Shield-Blue Care Network of Michigan
What can you tell me about a COVID-19 vaccine?
The FDA has approved vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna for emergency use. Distribution across the country is underway. Both vaccines are distributed in two doses, administered a few weeks apart.
Do I need both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. This will give you the best protection against COVID-19. The CDC and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services both agree it’s important to get the second dose.
When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
The second dose must be from the same vaccine manufacturer as your first dose. If you can, it would be best to follow up with the same provider who gave you your first shot.
People living in Michigan who are 65 and older are now eligible to get a vaccine. If you live outside of Michigan, please contact your state’s health department. The phases for vaccine distribution for Michigan are as follows:
Phase 1A began in December and is still underway. It includes the following people:
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- People working in a health care setting who meet these criteria:
- Have direct or indirect exposure to patients
- Have direct or indirect exposure to infectious materials
- Unable to work from home
- Can be paid or unpaid
Phase 1B began January 11 and is currently underway. It includes the following people:
- Michiganders age 65 and older
- Frontline essential workers, including:
- Police officers
- First responders
- Frontline state and federal workers
- Jail and prison staff
- Pre-K-12 teachers
- Childcare providers
Phase 1C hasn’t started yet. It will include people at high risk for a severe, COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions.
Phase 2 hasn’t started yet. It will be a mass vaccination campaign for all adults.
Other states’ vaccine plans may vary.
How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine
You can get one at your county health department, hospital or pharmacy. Other civic locations are distributing vaccines, too.
At a county health department. Visit the State of Michigan website. Then, find your county health department and make an appointment. Please note: The government has said that demand exceeds the current supply. So, you may not be able to make an appointment with the health department right away. If that’s the case, keep checking back as more vaccines become available.
At a local hospital. Many hospital systems are providing the vaccine by appointment for their patients. Each is notifying patients in its own way. Follow their instructions to make an appointment with them.
At a nearby pharmacy. Some pharmacies have also started the appointment process, or intend to soon. Check with your local pharmacy about their vaccine plans.
No matter where you decide to go, check to see what identification you’ll need to bring. For example, some sites may want you to bring your government-issued, red, white and blue Medicare ID card and your Blue Cross ID card. If you’re not sure, it may be best to bring both.
How much will a COVID-19 vaccine cost me?
You won’t have to pay anything to get the vaccine. The government’s Medicare program is covering the cost for you to get it.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
The FDA says that it puts every vaccine or drug through rigorous testing. It only releases those that it deems safe. Ask your physician about the benefits of the vaccine. You can also learn more by visiting the CDC or State of Michigan website.
How long does it take for a COVID-19 vaccine to work?
We don’t know yet. More guidance will be coming from the federal government. The government is still advising that people wear masks and practice social distancing, even after getting the vaccine.
Will I need to get a COVIC-19 vaccine each year?
More guidance will be coming from the federal government on this, later in 2021.
We don’t know yet. The CDC is still studying this.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine stop you from spreading the virus?
We don’t know yet. The CDC is still studying this.