COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination sign-ups for members of the general public who are 75 years and older are expected to begin Monday, January 25. The registration link and phone number will be posted here as soon as they are published. 

  • Vaccines for frontline healthcare are wrapping up. 
  • Sign-ups for those 75 years and older are anticipated to begin on Monday, January 25. 
  • There will be 59 clinics in 39 towns statewide, including Bennington and Manchester. 
  • Everyone, including those who have received a vaccine, should continue to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, including socializing only with those within their household, wearing a mask and maintaining 6 feet between them and others when in public, and washing hands frequently.
     

MILESTONES:

January 15: Vermont announced the public phase of COVID-19 vaccination.

December 11: The Pfizer-BIONtech vaccine received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug administration. Vermont received an initial shipment of nearly 6,000 doses. More doses are expected weekly throughout the month of December.

December 16: A limited supply of the Pfizer vaccine has arrived at SVMC. Hospital Medicine Physician Ann Marie Swann, MD, and Patricia Johnson, RN, were the first staff to receive the vaccine. Forty-five healthcare workers, who work directly with COVID-19 patients, were also vaccinated, and 250 will be vaccinated in the first week. 

December 21: A supply of Moderna vaccine arrived at SVMC. 

December 22: One hundred and thirty CLR residents and staff received the Pfizer vaccines. 

December 29: Vaccine scheduling for community healthcare workers opened. 

 

IMPORTANT INFO:

As with other vaccines, a small percentage of individuals may experience a brief period of fatigue, soreness at the injection site, and headache.

There are still unknowns, like how long the protection will last and how often we will need to be revaccinated. We trust that science will answer those questions, once the data is available.

VACCINE FAQs:

How will I learn when I can get my vaccine?
The first wave of vaccine will go to healthcare workers and those who live and work in skilled nursing facilities. See the chart above for additional details on the estimated roll out. Note that this timeline could change. We will use our professional networks, medical practices, local media, our website, social media, our e-newsletter, and other means to notify people how and when they can get their vaccine. We are not collecting names for a "waiting list."  

Is the vaccine for COVID a “live” vaccine? 
None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus. Instead, they use just a small piece of the virus, either a protein or genetic material, to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight it. The small piece of the virus used cannot multiply in the way necessary to make us sick.

What are the vaccines' ingredients? 
The Pfizer BioNTech COVID Vaccine includes mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose. See the complete fact sheet here. 

The Moderna COVID Vaccine includes messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose. See the complete fact sheet here. 

What does “Emergency Use Authorization” mean?
In an emergency, like a pandemic, the FDA can issue an emergency use authorization, or EUA, to provide faster access to medicines and tests that may help. They can do this only during an emergency and only when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. EUAs have been used to make COVID tests available to the public, and soon, we expect a few vaccines will be made available in this way. While less data is needed to get a EUA than FDA approval, it still takes tons of data. The benefit is that an EUA takes weeks, rather than months or years. EUAs are continuously evaluated and can be revoked if (a) the emergency ends, (b) the product is found to be unfit, or (c) the product is officially approved, cleared, or licensed by the FDA.

I have heard that vaccines can make you sick with the disease. Is that true?
No. A small percentage of people who received the vaccine will get fatigue, soreness, inflammation, or headache. While these symptoms are similar to those experienced by those with COVID, they are a result of the vaccine teaching your body to respond to the virus, if it enters your body. These reactions have universally resolve in a short amount of time, usually less than one day. 

It does take about 2 weeks for the vaccine to provide immunity. A person could encounter the virus and become infected just before or just after receiving the vaccine, before the protection takes effect, which could lead to someone thinking that the vaccine had made them ill. 

I have heard that the vaccine is delivered in two doses. If it works, why do we need to get two shots?
All but one of the vaccines in Phase III clinical trials requires two shots. The first shot starts building protection. A second shot, a few weeks later, is needed to get the most protection. Think of it as a one-two punch.

Where will vaccines be given?
Vaccines will be provided at 59 sites in 39 towns throughout Vermont. SVMC will conduct one site in Bennington. Bennington's branch of the Vermont Department of Health expects to conduct a site in Manchester. 

Does the vaccine cause an allergic reaction? 
Allergic reactions to the vaccine are very rare. If you have never had a reaction to another vaccine, you should not expect to have a reaction to this one. Complete information is available here. 

Once I get the vaccine, I can go back to normal life, right?
There are many considerations that will help determine if we can quit wearing masks, get together with friends, and travel again. It is best to look to the experts at the Vermont Department of Health or your state’s department of health. Continuing a (maybe slightly loosened) set of precautions will help ensure our entire community is protected before we relax. And remember, you’re never fully protected and the best protection you can get from the vaccine will be  after your second shot.

How long will the immunity we get from the COVID vaccine last? Will we need a new vaccine every year, like we do for the flu? 
There are still unknowns, like how long the protection will last and how often we will need to be revaccinated. We trust that science will answer those questions, once the data is available.

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