Per information provided by Chief Quality and Compliance Officer, Amber Brazzel, the Jackson Parish Hospital (JPH) received an allotment of COVID-19 vaccines to be administered to all Tier I recipients last week. Tier I is defined as all hospital staff where there is an emergency room and surgical area.
Administration of the vaccine, in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, began last week and will continue to all employees that would like to receive it. It is a 2-dose vaccine. JPH employees will receive their second dose in 3 weeks.
Things you need to know about the new COVID-19 Vaccination Program and COVID-19 vaccines.
- The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. 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. CDC has developed a new tool, v-safe, as an additional layer of safety monitoring to increase our ability to rapidly detect any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines.
- COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed. Depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second shot 3-4 weeks after your first shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against this serious disease. Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated.
- Because the current supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be offered to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.
- There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
- After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may feel likefl u and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
- Cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers may be able to charge administration fees for giving the shot. Vaccination providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
- The first COVID-19 vaccine is being used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested. If more COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved by FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will quickly hold public meetings to review all available data about each vaccine and make recommendations for their use in the United States. All ACIP-recommended vaccines will be included in the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program. CDC continues to work at all levels with partners, including healthcare associations, on a flexible COVID-19 vaccination program that can accommodate different vaccines and adapt to different scenarios. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments have developed distribution plans to make sure all recommended vaccines are available to their communities.
- COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
Frequently asked questions
- How are vaccines developed and tested? The most commonly used vaccines have been around for decades, with millions of people receiving them safely every year. As with all medicines, every vaccine must go through extensive and rigorous testing to ensure it is safe before it can be introduced in a country. An experimental vaccine is first tested in animals to evaluate its safety and potential to prevent disease. It is then tested in human clinical trials in three phases. Once the results of the clinical trials are available, a series to steps is required, including reviews of efficacy, safety, and manufacturing for regulatory and public health policy approvals, before a vaccine may be introduced into a national immunization program.
- How does an mRNA vaccine differ from previous vaccines? mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. mRNA vaccines instead teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
- How is the research and development process being accelerated without compromising safety? The CEOs of AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnston & Johnston, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi have made a historic pledge to the world, outlining a united commitment to uphold the integrity of the scientific process as they work towards potential regulatory filings and approvals of the first COVID-19 vaccines. Currently, clinical trials are evaluating investigational COVID-19 vaccines in many thousands of study participants to generate scientific data regarding safety and efficacy. If FDA determines a vaccine meets required safety and effectiveness standards, FDA may permit the vaccine to be distributed and used in the United States under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or licensure. Once FDA makes its determination, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review available data before making vaccine recommendations to CDC. Once a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized or approved for use, CDC, FDA, and other federal partners will use multiple existing, robust systems and data sources to conduct ongoing safety monitoring.
- Have Louisiana residents participated in the clinical trials? The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna clinical trials for the vaccine included patients from across Louisiana. The evidence for the vaccine’s safety comes in part from the people in our own community.
- What are the side effects of the vaccine? Details on the vaccines and their safety data have not been presented to the general public yet, but they will be once they receive Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) from FDA. It is anticipated that you may experience similar side effects of the flu vaccine, which are: Sore arm at the injection site, fever, fatigue, headache, joint pain and muscle aches.
- Why is it important to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Getting the vaccine has several benefits. The most important one being that we can safely establish herd immunity so the population at large can be protected from the virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached. It’s a tall order, as experts estimate that roughly 70% of people in the U.S. (200 million) need to be vaccinated to reach this level of protection for COVID-19 specifically. This is especially important for vulnerable, high-risk groups, like the elderly and immunocompromised.
- Will the COVID-19 vaccine infect me with COVID-19? None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever, but these symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.
- Will the COVID-19 vaccines cause me to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests? Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
- If I’ve already gotten sick with COVID-19, do I still need to take the COVID-19 vaccine? Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
- Is the COVID-19 vaccine more effective than the flu vaccine? Recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine. Current COVID-19 vaccine results are showing efficacy ratings above 90%, making the COVID-19 vaccine more effective than the flu vaccine.