It Looks Like Americans Over the Age of 75 May Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine in January
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From good housekeeping
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the emergency use of several vaccines, with the doses now being administered to the public.
Some Americans may be eligible to get vaccinations for health care workers in January and February before they roll out to everyone in late spring or early summer 2021.
There are more than 15 pharmacies, retailers and supermarket chains offering COVID-19 vaccines to the public. Many offer online appointments.
Your questions answered:
Who will be first | Can I get a vaccine now? | Where can I find a vaccine? How many recordings do I need? | How much is it? | Are there any side effects? | Should i speak to my doctor?
December brought record highs in novel coronavirus deaths and cases here in the U.S. But the country's top medical officials have taken steps to introduce a much-needed vaccine to contain the outbreak. Earlier this month, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials authorized pharmaceutical company Pfizer to introduce its newly developed emergency vaccine. The shot will be administered to health care workers and officials this month after the FDA stated that "the entirety of the available data provides unequivocal evidence" that the vaccine "can effectively prevent COVID-19."
With new information published daily about the upcoming distribution of millions of vaccine doses, one thing is certain: some Americans will get a shot before others. And the general public likely won't be able to enter a local clinic, pharmacy, or hospital for a COVID-19 vaccine until well into 2021. Many hope that Dr. Anthony Fauci of the Coronavirus Task Force of the White House is right in one of his most recent estimates: "By April we have probably got the high priority down, and then the general population can ... go to a CVS or a Walgreen and get vaccinated "he said during a public interview in late November.
However, there will likely be two (or more!) Vaccines available to the public by the time spring is over. In the same interview, Dr. Fauci told the public that the federal government had contracts with several companies to produce more than 600 million doses of the vaccine because it appeared that every American would receive two shots over several weeks. However, the New York Times reports that U.S. officials only bought 100 million doses of Pfizer and bought other vaccines from companies like Moderna, which lag behind Pfizer in the FDA approval process (as well as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson even further).
Much remains to be seen of all of the vaccines that may be available to the American public, but FDA approval of the Pfizer product has revealed some important details. A 53-page FDA report suggests that Pfizer's vaccine offers some protection against severe COVID-19 symptoms after just one shot, and could be more than 95% effective when given two doses. Other vaccine candidates are showing similar results: you can view the progress of any vaccine under development (and trial results) in an illustrated guide from the New York Times.
With the government getting some people early with vaccines, you may be wondering when it is your turn to get a vaccine - and how to get a vaccine earlier if you are eligible. Some of this information is covered by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but most of this information comes from experts who have experience with medical regulations. Below, two leading infectious disease experts with experience in federal and international affairs share how much the vaccine will cost, what the vaccine will look like, and who will be first in line to get it. We'll also share a list of retailers that have it in your area.
Much of this information can be found in questions answered by CDC officials. As more information about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine is released, some details in this report may have changed since it was last updated. For up-to-date information on vaccines, see the CDC and World Health Organization online resources and contact your local health department.
Who will be the first to receive a vaccine?
Federal officials work with states to set guidelines on who should get a vaccine first - and the list of priorities can vary between regions. Robert Amler, M.D., former CDC commissioner and regional administrator for health and human services in the United States who currently serves as vice president of government affairs at New York Medical College, says state officials will largely decide where the vaccine will be used first. According to Dr. Amler can affect the priority in most states as follows:
Healthcare providers: Anyone who works in a hospital or emergency clinic is expected to be vaccinated in December and early January.
Frontline Workers: Depending on the criteria of the state, some workers who perform essential roles, including the civil service, may also be given a vaccine at this point. The New York Times reports that a CDC advisory panel recommends that 30 million frontline essential workers, including emergency workers, teachers, and key customer-facing workers such as grocers and cashiers, receive a vaccine in December and January.
Long-term health care providers: namely those who care for high risk individuals who are likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms, including the elderly and the immunocompromised. These health care providers are vaccinated before most others in places like nursing homes through rehab clinics and even places like Veteran Affairs Hospitals.
Americans over the age of 75: This will likely include nearly everyone who is cared for in long-term care facilities. There are more than 20 million Americans over this age limit, according to the Associated Press, and they will be given a vaccine along with key workers in January or February.
High Risk Individuals: This will likely be due to health conditions previously defined by CDC officials. The elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions (e.g. diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular problems) may receive their vaccine at the start of the season, between late winter and early spring.
People at increased risk: Each state can have very different plans here, as needs vary from region to region. "There are certainly subgroups in different states and counties and cities - some of them racist, some ethnic, some socioeconomic - where people have higher rates of illness and higher rates of complications." explains Dr. Amler. He adds that these areas, especially those where high density living or working conditions are an issue, may have open access to vaccines before other areas do.
Everyone Else: Depending on whether there are manufacturing delays or other logistical issues, most medical experts expect the vaccine to be released to the public in late spring or early summer 2021. "This planned schedule is getting tougher. Once the vaccine is approved, it will begin to be distributed," adds Dr. Amler added.
A preliminary report from Johns Hopkins University suggests that vaccine distribution could be gradual. Phase 1 would include frontline workers and first responders, as well as those at higher risk for severe symptoms. Phase 2 would include critical workers such as teachers and educational institutions, as well as those at increased risk, including the homeless, incarcerated, or other older adults not included in Phase 1.
Phase 3 would potentially bring out vaccines for children and young adults (more on that later), and Phase 4 would be a general introduction to the public. "Although the framework does not specifically identify racial or ethnic groups, it recognizes the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 in African American and Latin American communities due to systemic racism that leads to higher rates of underlying disease, living conditions that contribute to disease risk, and more employment than essential workers, "concludes the report.
How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine now?
Depending on where you fall in the above categories, you may be wondering if you are eligible to get a vaccine before anyone else. The good news is that you don't have to do any extra work to get access to an early vaccine if you're supposed to have it, explains Dr. Amler. As the federal government works to distribute vaccines to states as needed, local county and city health officials will be distributing vaccines to hospitals, clinics, and larger doctor's offices that may already have a list of patients who would benefit from a vaccine sooner Vaccine. In this case, your doctor will tell you directly that a vaccine will be provided to you before others.
But not everyone has a caregiver, and the government doesn't know every condition that all Americans have, which is why Dr. Amler says you will soon see a lot of promotional and educational material about the vaccine. "This material can alert people that they may be eligible for a vaccine sooner," he explains. Many, many efforts are underway to persuade more Americans to sign up for a vaccine, as between 40 and 65% of respondents have doubts about getting a shot, according to the Pew Research Center. Notable leaders and celebrities are already pledging to receive vaccines, some publicly - former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush will post their vaccinations on CNN.
If you don't already have a relationship with a health care provider, you can contact your local health department in your area in the New Year to inquire about getting a vaccine for an underlying disease. But it will likely be easier to get a vaccine from a family doctor, as their facilities may be quicker to question you for an early vaccine if they find you qualify for a vaccine.
Not sure whether to ask about early vaccination? The New York Times has compiled an illustrated guide to help you gauge vaccine needs compared to others in your county.
What will the vaccine actually be like?
Early reports from the FDA indicate that most vaccines require two different doses, with a "booster" shot given every week (three weeks for Pfizer products). Dr. Amler explains that consumers likely won't have a choice of where their vaccine is coming from in early 2021, but rather that they will have to receive two of the same vaccines. "Three weeks later, you can't get a Pfizer shot and then a Moderna shot," he says.
It is critical that both doses are given to provide the greatest possible protection. And even if you successfully get the entire vaccine, it doesn't mean you can still stop social distancing or wearing a mask. Believe it or not, it could be months or an entire season for the vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19, says Dr. med. Bojana Berić-Stojšić, CHES, Ambassador of the United Nations Society for Public Health Education and Director of the Masters in Public Health Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "It will take some time for the mRNA vaccine to immunize enough people to achieve what we know as 'herd immunity', which would help stop the virus from spreading locally and globally," shares Dr. Berić-Stojšić with.
So far, however, one pretty big question remains - whether we need to get a new coronavirus vaccine annually, regularly, or whether one vaccine will last for our entire lifespan. "At the moment, the length of immunity protection in the mRNA vaccine is unknown. It could be our lives, but it can be shorter, like the flu vaccine," she adds. As with vaccines for pneumonia or tetanus, the more likely we will need to be vaccinated again at some point.
Where can I find a vaccine?
Both Dr. Amler and Dr. Berić-Stojšić say state health departments are finalizing plans to make the vaccine available to the public. Primarily, however, the vaccine will be available in hospitals and pharmacy clinics, and in some cases even in clinics embedded in shopping malls and grocery stores.
In an interview with NBC, Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health, said that all of the company's pharmacies will make the COVID-19 vaccine available once they are approved by the federal government. In some cases, local clinics near you get their vaccines direct from pharmacies like CVS: Merlo says more than 31,000 different long-term care facilities have already sought the pharmacy's help. Similar to a flu shot, you'll need to make an appointment for the vaccine and the doctors will remind you to visit again. "We're going to urge you when you are planning your first vaccine to plan this booster as well, and much like we do today with refill reminders to keep you updated on your medication, we're going to give you loads of friendly nudges to miss you not this first appointment and just as important this second appointment. "
The Department of Health and Human Services has already announced a partnership with a number of national chains (some pharmacies, other retailers) that will ship the vaccine. This is where you can find all the pharmacies, clinics, and retailers where you may be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on where to get more information or to make an appointment:
Albertsons: This includes all retailers that are part of Albertsons Companies, Inc. such as B. Osco, Safeway, Shaws, Vons, Lucky's and Acme. Here you can sign up for availability notifications and an appointment.
Costco: You can make an appointment online and get information about when the vaccine will be available in the nearest market.
CVS Pharmacy: Find out more about how CVS plans to sell vaccines here.
H-E-B Markets: Grocery stores with pharmacy services will work with state governments to distribute shots. More information can be found here.
Hy-Vee: The grocery chain hires 1,000 pharmacists to help distribute vaccines in their stores.
Meijer: You can make online appointments for various services, including vaccinations.
Stop and Shop: You can get a vaccine at any pharmacy in this chain as soon as supplies are available, including sister chains on the east coast including Giant, Food Lion and Hannaford.
Publix: This southeast food chain also offers vaccines to its customers. You can find a local pharmacy with online access to vaccines.
Kroger: As a food giant, Kroger will be offering vaccines in its store clinics and will take pictures in stores like Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, the city market, Pick-n-Save and Dillons, among other things.
Rite Aid: Pharmacies may provide COVID-19 vaccines earlier than others to high-risk people, according to their website (where you can also make an appointment).
Walgreens: Sign up for updates in real time and make an appointment online before going to the nearest pharmacy.
Walmart: Read about the company's plans to roll out vaccines in nearly every store in the country and schedule a pharmacy appointment here in due course.
Wegmans: Learn more about how you can get to know this chain as well as its sister businesses like ShopRite, Acme and Weis Markets.
According to an NBC News analysis, around 99% of Americans live within 50 miles of these locations - but another 20% of the population must travel at least five miles. If you are a resident of Alaska, Hawaii, California, Arizona, or Montana and don't have access to these chains within 50 miles (approximately 700,000 not), you can apply for a vaccine from your primary care provider or a hospital or clinic near you, if it is closer.
How much does the vaccine cost?
The short answer: it will be free. "Vaccine doses bought with US dollars are given to the American people free of charge," said the CDC.
However, some vaccine providers may charge a nominal fee for their services, which should be communicated to you in advance of an appointment. "Over the decades, although the vaccine fee was zero, vendors were allowed to charge a nominal fee when free vaccines were sent to private doctors' offices, private clinics or even public clinics," explains Dr. Amler. "It's for the cost of getting the vaccine ... put an alcohol swab on your arm and so on."
Are There Any Side Effects Related to COVID-19 Vaccines?
First things first, if you have any concerns about the safety of this brand new vaccine, this is completely normal. "You should ask as many questions as you need to understand the benefit and risk of the vaccine; the very big benefit and the small, small risk," says Dr. Amler. "The risk must be well below the benefit of a recommended vaccine. So these final reviews will take place this month to make sure we're getting the right product to market."
In approving the emergency vaccine, officials notified the FDA that their review of the Pfizer product did not reveal any serious risks to the public. In a statement, officials said that "potential benefits outweigh known and potential risks" and that "a thorough assessment of the available safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality" had been completed before the product was approved.
Recent headlines highlighted the possibility of an impact on allergy sufferers as UK officials report that two health care workers who had previously experienced allergies and are currently wearing adrenaline autoinjectors were allergic to Pfizer's vaccine. According to CNN, these people reported symptoms such as shortness of breath and rash, consistent with an "anaphylactoid reaction." Both people have since recovered, but the incident is a good reminder that (as with most vaccines) anyone with allergies should discuss a new shot with their doctor first.
In an interview with CNN, current FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn told the public that if someone develops an immediate allergic reaction to the vaccine, vaccine administrators will be instructed to have emergency medication on hand. However, healthcare providers are also aware of all of the common allergens found in the vaccine they are giving and should give their patients advance notice of possible complications.
Even if you itchy after a shot, letting your doctor know that you plan on getting one as soon as possible wouldn't be a bad idea, says Dr. Berić-Stojšić. There may be other health determinants in addition to allergies that require special aftercare from care providers, and transparency is best.
Who should speak to their doctor before asking about a COVID-19 vaccine?
There are some groups of people who shouldn't get the vaccine without first talking to their family doctor. Dr. Berić-Stojšić explains the risk for both groups:
Children: The FDA's emergency clearance stipulates that patients must be 16 years of age at this time to receive a vaccine. Dr. However, Berić-Stojšić suggests that teenagers are likely to be (or should be) instructed by their health care provider to sign up. No one under the age of 18 should seek a vaccine without a recommendation yet, as Pfizer is still in trials with children aged 12 and over, the Times reports. "It seems that [the majority of children] have this cross-immunity to any vaccines they normally receive, and they seem to do pretty well as a group when compared to other populations," she adds.
People with chronic diseases: A vaccine can affect some of the treatments associated with chronic diseases, especially most cancers. Anyone undergoing treatment (even for diabetes, which is a high-risk marker) should first discuss the vaccine with their doctor.
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