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COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine is Approved!

With the issuance of the Emergency Use Authorization allowing the distribution the of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as the first COVID-19 vaccine on December 11, 2020, we are all hopeful that the end of this pandemic could be in sight.  Where herd immunity is the ultimate goal, projections are that the US will need to provide two doses of vaccine to upwards of 70% of our population, that is 231 million people and likely 462 million doses.  As supply chain is likely to be limited in the early going, we can take hope that Moderna and AstraZeneca are likey not far behind in having their market entries evaluated by the FDA soon.

Regardless of which vaccine comes available in your neighborhood, the largest challenge will be getting the word out and advising our population of the benefits of a vaccine.  That is sure to be a tall order for our divided nation, one which will likely be complicated when having to counter the rampant vaccine misinformation.

 

How can I receive a dose?

The vaccine will first be made available to healthcare workers, first responders and residents of long term care facilities.  Thereafter, the vaccine is expected to be rolled out to our senior citizens and to those with certain chronic conditions before extending to younger and healthier populations.

You should expect that your local hospitals will be the first to receive supplies of vaccine to distribute among their staff of frontline medical personnel and support staff.  Soon thereafter, the pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens will be involved in distrubition to nursing and other extended care facilities.  Subsequently, you can expect rollouts of vaccine to higher risk groups only to be followed by progressively lower risk tiers and eventually to the population at large.  Each vaccination site will be charged with determining that recipients meet the criteria of the current administration phase.  The details of this process have yet to be published.

 

How long will this take?

It will take months to manufacture, distrubute and administer vaccine to all who desire a dose.  CNN Health offers this rough guideline as to how this process will likely flow.  

To date our practice has not been enrolled as a distribution site for COVID-19 vacccine.  We will continue to monitor for updates and will post any new details to this blog. 

 

 

*Update 12/18/2020:  FDA Approves Moderna Vaccine:

On 12/18/2020, the FDA approved an Emergency Use Authorization for the Moderna COVID 19 vaccine.  This means that there will be more availability of vaccine to distribute to protect our population.  

*Update 12/19/2020: NJ Publishes Vaccine Distribution Plan:

On 12/19/2020, the NJ Department of Health published the attached guideline pertaining to vaccine phases and distribution plans.  As expected, that plan continues to evolve with more detail becomming available with every revision.  Keep checking back here for the latest information.

*Update 1/5/2021: NJ Vaccination Scheduling System (NJVSS):

Today, NJ opened its online registration site allowing individuals to schedule an appointment in order to receive their COVID 19 vaccine at participatring Point of Dispensing (POD) sites.  Based upon demographics and health-based screening questions, you will be designated into your most appropriate vaccine phase and contacted to schedule once your phase becomes eligible.  At the date of this blog update (1/5/2021), NJ is currently scheduling for Phase 1A.  

*Update 1/14/2021:  Non NJVSS POD sites:

In addition, there are PODs which do not participate in the NJVSS.  Click here to review the list of these non NJVSS sites.  Contact these sites directly to inquire about availability and to schedule your COVID vaccine.

Author
Dr. Raccuglia

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