At CenterWell, we are committed to moving beyond the prevention of COVID-19, and into the immunization of our patients. Our priority during the COVID-19 outbreak has been to support your safety and well-being. We believe that the COVID-19 vaccination is an important step towards bringing this virus under control.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine will be distributed throughout the US in the coming months. As your partner in your healthcare journey, we want to keep you updated with the most up-to-date information from trusted sources, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to ensure you are informed and educated about this vaccine.
We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you have about the COVID -19 vaccine as a part of your regular appointments with your primary care provider or any member of our Care Team.
We encourage you to sign up with your State or County Department of Health to be registered to receive the vaccination from an authorized location as vaccines become available. Signing up does not mean the vaccine is readily available, but it does allow the health department to notify you and schedule your vaccination once vaccines become available in your area. We ask that you keep track of your two vaccine doses and send us a copy of the immunization card so we can document it in our records.
While you wait for the vaccine, remember that for most people a COVID-19 vaccine won’t be available for months, so it is important to keep up with your wellness appointments and to follow CDC guidelines to continue to protect yourself until you can get the vaccine.
Yes. There are currently two authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have both received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States, meaning that they can be made available to the public during the pandemic. We believe the vaccines are both safe and effective and the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any identified risks or side effects. There are other COVID-19 vaccines in other stages of development in the United States.
A third vaccine manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has recently requested Emergency Use Authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA is expected to meet on February 26 to consider the request. There are also two other COVID-19 vaccines in earlier stages of development in the United States.
According to the CDC, "There will be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines at start, but supply will continually increase in the weeks and months that follow. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities are available."
Because of limited initial supply, the CDC has recommended that the vaccine be distributed in phases, beginning with those most at risk. For Phase 1a of the distribution, CDC recommended healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities receive the vaccine first. CDC recently updated its recommendation for the next rollout phases. For the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC’s website.
It is important to note that states are developing their own prioritization plans based on the CDC’s recommendations, so eligible groups may vary somewhat from state to state. Check with your state’s department of health to learn the rules for your area
We encourage you to sign up with your State or County Department of Health to be registered to receive the vaccination from an authorized location as vaccines become available. Signing up does not mean the vaccine is readily available, but it does allow the health department to notify you and schedule your vaccination once vaccines become available in your area. We ask that you keep track of your two vaccine doses and communicate this update to your CenterWell provider at your next visit.
We have also applied to enroll our area clinics as vaccination administration sites for patients. Due to limited vaccine supplies, we are unsure of when the vaccine will become available to us, but we will keep you informed.
Visit your state Department of Health website for the latest information.
Kansas Department of Health
Louisiana Department of Health
Missouri Department of Health
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services
North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Texas Department of State Health Services
The CDC recently announced a new program called The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination, designed to increase vaccine accessibility.
Visit the CDC’s webpage here to view a list of participating pharmacies in your state.
Remember to bring a government-issued ID with you when you get your vaccination. Because age is an important criterion for eligibility in most states, many vaccine providers are requiring a government-issued ID showing date of birth as proof of age.
Wherever you get the vaccine, it is important to confirm the source is safe and reputable to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. A recent warning from the FBI provides information on potential indicators of COVID-19 vaccine related fraud and tips on how to avoid it. You can find a link to the FBI warning here.
According to the CDC, "The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Learn how federal partners are working together to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines."
To see the latest from the CDC on what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html
The COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered via injection in the upper arm. Most will require two doses to be effective, including the two vaccines that recently received Emergency Use Authorization. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will require two shots, administered about 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine will require two shots, administered about 28 days apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is awaiting EUA consideration, is a one dose vaccine.
If you have concerns due to your health status or a specific medical condition, speak with your doctor or care team about whether the vaccine is appropriate for you.
During this pandemic, it is important that you still get your needed medical care and attend your doctor’s appointments. Keeping your health conditions well managed—by staying on top of your preventive and regular medical care—will help to manage your health risk during this pandemic. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself while awaiting the availability of the vaccine.
Remember it is important to continue to protect yourself from COVID-19 until you can get the vaccine and after vaccination. You should cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay six feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often. If you start to not feel well or have questions about your health, please call our office and speak to a member of your care team.
Yes. All FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines will be covered at no additional cost during the public health emergency. It also covers instances in which two vaccine doses are required.
There are currently no other available vaccines that will prevent COVID-19. However, multiple agencies and groups in the United States are working together to make sure that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is available as quickly as possible. A flu vaccine will not protect you from getting COVID-19, but it can prevent you from getting influenza (flu) at the same time as COVID-19. That means that getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever.