I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming holiday season and that you all stay safe and healthy.
I won’t reiterate the guidance from the State and Federal Government about avoiding Christmas and New Year’s gatherings and other social events, as I am sure you are hearing a great deal about the uptick in cases that resulted from Thanksgiving.
We have had a number of questions about the vaccine and its availability, so I wanted to provide the latest guidance from the Federal CDC below. Also, our local health district (Farmington Valley Health District) in Canton has a website with a great deal of good information. That website is http://www.fvhd.org/
I summarized a couple of articles below that provide good data on the plans in Connecticut for vaccination.
8 Things to Know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program (Updated Dec. 22, 2020)
Now that there are authorized and recommended vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States, here are 8 things you need to know about the new COVID-19 Vaccination Program and COVID-19 vaccines. For the complete text, click here:
1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.
2. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed.
3. CDC is making recommendations for who should be offered COVID-19 vaccine first when supplies are limited.
4. 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.
5. After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection.
6. Cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
7. 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.
8. COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic.
When Vaccine is Limited, Who Gets Vaccinated First? (Updated Dec. 23, 2020)
Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is expected to be limited at first, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts. For the complete text, click here:
The recommendations were made with these goals in mind:
· Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.
· Preserve functioning of society.
· Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.
Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines (Phase 1a). Connecticut is currently in Phase 1a. However, the exact start date for Phases 1b and 1c are not known at this time. All dates are somewhat fluid at this time, so check your local newspapers, radio stations or the websites I referenced above.
CDC recommends that, in the next phases (Phase 1b and Phase 1c), vaccination should be offered to people in the following groups.
· Frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.)
· People aged 75 years and older because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 75 years and older who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
· People aged 65—74 years because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 65—74 years who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
· People aged 16—64 years with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
· Other essential workers, such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.
As vaccine availability increases, vaccination recommendations will expand to include more groups. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available. As vaccine supply increases but remains limited, ACIP will expand the groups recommended for vaccination.