CHARLOTTE – The COVID-19 Vaccine has now been tested and is safe and very effective. This shot will give people back control of their lives and get them back to see the people and places that they love. Scientists have been working on vaccines for decades for similar viruses, which gave them the head start to create an effective and safe vaccine for COVID-19. The virus has affected the whole world as no other virus has in our history. People are ready to get out of their homes, travel, see their family in nursing homes, and get back to the “new” normal.
Currently, there are two vaccines on the market that have been proved safe and effective. The makers Pfizer and Moderna have over 70,000 volunteers for clinical trials. Between the two vaccines, they have a 95% effective rate, and each day that rate is becoming higher. Each of the volunteers has reported no serious side effects or safety concerns with vaccines made from either company. The FDA is heavily monitoring the vaccine and will continue to monitor its use and availability for the public.
On the brink of a third vaccine is Johnson & Johnson. They announced on December 17, 2020, that they are on the first phase 3 for their COVID-19 Vaccine Trial. Their trial covered large-scale, pivotal, and multi-country single-dose vaccines with about 45,000 participants. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is very influential to the data on overall effectiveness because of the type of study they are conducting. Their trial covers a high number of participants that will generate sufficient data needed to determine the efficacy and safety of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine trial candidate.
Vaccination plans are already in the works, and the people of the world are getting ready. In North Carolina, a plan has been developed and is already in the works to get the vaccine out to the people that need it most, then each of us will have an opportunity for the vaccine. Just keep in mind that you can not get the virus from the vaccines. Some have reported very mild reactions, such as a sore arm, feeling tired, or a mild headache for a day or two after receiving the vaccine. The best news of all about this is that the vaccine will be available for free. It will not matter whether you have insurance or not.
The vaccine will be available in four phases; currently, the State of North Carolina is on phase 1B. Included in phase 1A and 1B are health care workers working with COVID-19 patients and long-term care residents and staff plus any adult 75 years old or older along with frontline essential staff members.
If you are a member of this phased group you can go and get your vaccine now. Surprisingly, the vaccine is available at many places.
If you have a physician (Novant and Atrium Health Services) that you regularly see, it is best to contact their facility first to see if they can schedule an appointment for your vaccine. Most physician offices have the vaccine and can administer it.
Mecklenburg County Public Health is vaccinating its residents by appointment only. If you are eligible to receive a vaccine in phase 1a or 1b, you can make an appointment with the Mecklenburg County Public Health. They are administering vaccinations at the Bojangles Coliseum uptown.
Walgreens started offering the vaccine in-store on December 23, 2020, under phase 1A. Their pharmacy experts are trained and ready to deliver the vaccines. They are ready to deliver vaccinations safely and per CDC guidelines.
CVS Health has been offering the vaccine since December 23, 2020, and will continue to deliver the vaccine through each phase. The process is exactly identical to getting a flu shot, and all of the pharmacy staff members have been trained to deliver the vaccine.
Now that the vaccine is ready and is being delivered, the phases will be determined by our state government. There are four phases; phase one includes two subgroups, then each phase after will follow with different criteria for each.
As the new year is in full swing, the number of cases of COVID-19 positive tests is on the rise. With critically high rates in our state, we are in a dangerous position. In the first two days of the year, North Carolina broke records. Positive tests are coming in at the rate of 15.5% which is 5% higher than we have ever seen before. It is important now more than ever to practice safety measures. The vaccine now being in place should drive down our numbers but will take everyone doing their part to make this a success.
Currently in Mecklenburg County over 6,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. As healthcare workers roll up their sleeves to receive the vaccine, will you be getting yours?