Returning to a new ‘normal’

Doctor holds one of the 200 million Pfizer vaccines which have been made and are ready to be distributed.

Senior+Enlisted+Advisor+to+the+Chairman+%28SEAC%29+Ramon+%22CZ%22+Colon-Lopez+receives+a+COVID-19+vaccine+at+Walter+Reed+National+Military+Medical+Center%2C+Bethesda%2C+Md.%2C+Dec.+21%2C+2020.+%28DOD+Photo+by+Navy+Petty+Officer+1st+Class+Carlos+M.+Vazquez+II%29%0A%0AImage+two%3A+Bexar+county+has+seen+an+average+of+25+new+COVID-19+deaths+each+day+within+the+past+week.%0A%0AImage+three%3A+It+is+estimated+that+140%2C00+people+in+Bexar+county+are+included+in+Phase+1A.

Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman (SEAC) Ramon “CZ” Colon-Lopez receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 21, 2020. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II) Image two: Bexar county has seen an average of 25 new COVID-19 deaths each day within the past week. Image three: It is estimated that 140,00 people in Bexar county are included in Phase 1A.

When the first nurse received the initial dose of the novel COVID- 19 vaccine on Dec. 14, the whole world watched. Now the big question is when everyone will get it.

As of now, Pfiezer and Moderna have vaccines authorized under the Federal Drug Administration for emergency use. Pfizer’s vaccine was approved for those 16 and older, and Moderna was approved for those 18 and older.

More than 24.1 million doses in 41 different countries have been distributed, not including the second dose both companies require. 

The plan to distribute this vaccine comes in two phases. The first phase targeted hospitals employees and front line providers, and the next phase will expand to pharmacies and other places where vaccines are traditionally administered. 

Currently the country has reached Phase 1B, which means most health care workers have already received their vaccine. So far 151,000 people in the United States are fully vaccinated, receiving both doses.

Local hospitals that have received the vaccine currently give it to people 65 and older and people 16 and older with medical conditions. 

Four vaccination distribution sites in San Antonio include: 

  • Metro’s Health’s clinic at the Alamodome, 
  • WellMed Clinic at the Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Center, 
  • WellMed clinic at the Alicia Treviño López Senior Community Center and 
  • University Health’s clinic at the Wonderland of the Americas. 

Visit any of these organizations’ websites to find available appointments, but limited availability means appointments become booked fast.

A woman, who asked to remain anonymous, received the vaccine and said she was “forever grateful.”

Upon arriving at the site, “all her inhibitions melted away.” Health officials were not only prepared but eager to administer the vaccine.

 “I was greeted by a very efficient and orderly process,” she said. “All the University Health officials were amazing.” 

The process took about 30 minutes, beginning with a standard checkup and making sure patients were not at risk for allergic reactions. Health officials also made sure to schedule a follow up appointment and stayed in contact with each patient in case they had any side effects.  As for who gets the vaccine next, three factors are considered: health, age and occupation. The elderly and health care workers are getting the vaccine, and “essential workers” are next. 

Health officials said students might get it as early as spring if everything goes smoothly..

“We have not been given any information regarding vaccine availability at school, but are hopeful most of the staff will have the opportunity to receive the first dose within the next few weeks.” school nurse Natalie Kuhn said. “I am anticipating an uptick in available vaccines over the next few months and optimistic for what that means for our future and returning to a new ‘normal.’”

CDC recommends these phases of the vaccine distribution. States develop their own plans.


Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines (1a)

CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be allocated to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. This is referred to as Phase 1a. Phases may overlap. CDC made this recommendation on December 3, 2020.


Groups who should be offered vaccination next (1b and 1c)

CDC recommends that in Phase 1b and Phase 1c, which may overlap, vaccination should be offered to people in the following groups. CDC made this recommendation on December 22, 2020.


Phase 1b

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  • 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.

 


Phase 1c

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  • 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 enough quantities of vaccine are available. As vaccine supply increases but remains limited, ACIP will expand the groups recommended for vaccination.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations.html

For the state plan go to: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx