The scientists have done their work; now it’s our turn.
In December, 2020, the Food & Drug Administration approved the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Widespread vaccination participation is critical to stopping this virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined four phases of vaccine rollout, giving frontline caregivers and long-term care residents priority, followed by those at risk of serious COVID-19 complications. Equitas Health expects to be among those healthcare agencies who receive and provide vaccines. When we do receive vaccines, they will come with strict guidelines regarding whom we can administer them to.
As we move into this very promising phase of the pandemic, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- We strongly recommend vaccination. We are confident in the science and approval process behind these groundbreaking vaccines. Researchers developed the COVID-19 vaccines in record-breaking time, not because they cut corners, but because they used a new genetics-based approach. While questions remain about the duration of protection, the trials will answer those questions as the vaccine rolls out to the public over the next year. If you have more questions about the vaccine’s safety or approval process, we recommend this article from the Washington Post.
- The vaccination strategy is going to take many months. We are hopeful that our frontline staff will have access to the vaccine in December or January. By February or March, we expect to have vaccine doses to offer patients and community members with conditions identified as high-risk for COVID complications. The general public will likely wait well into spring and summer months for vaccination.
- The COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. You will not have protection from COVID until you receive your second dose, which will be 3 or 4 weeks after your first dose, depending on the manufacturer. The first and second doses must come from the same manufacturer. So if you get your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, you must get your second dose from the Pfizer vaccine stock.
- We must continue all precautions. Public health officials warn that people who are vaccinated should still wear masks and continue to social distance as we wait for the vaccine to reach most of the population.
- Ask your questions now. If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, contact your provider now, so that you have all the information you need to make your best decision as soon as the vaccine becomes available to you.