By Dr. Michele Dikkers, Physician at Cornerstone Family Practice and GMHC, Chair of Clayton County Board of Health

Happy New Year!

We made it.  2020 is behind us. But what awaits us in 2021? We may not know, but we will find out. Like it or not here it comes. 

One thing we know is that after waiting and waiting, the vaccine is finally here.  

This may be a good time for a refresher regarding the vaccines. Currently, there are 2 vaccines that have been approved for the prevention of COVID-19, one from Pfizer and the other by Moderna.  

The Pfizer trial included 40,000 volunteers, the Moderna study included 30,000. Of the volunteers that developed COVID-19 after being vaccinated, only 5% of them had received the vaccine, the other 95% that became ill with COVID-19, had received the placebo, or the non-vaccine injection.   

Side effects of receiving the vaccine may occur in some that receive it and could include soreness at the site of the injection, redness at the injection site, fever, chills, fatigue and headache. The side effects are listed as only lasting 24 hours. They are considered a normal reaction.

The technology for these first two vaccines was developed in 1990 and its use as a vaccine, studied for the past 10-15 years.   

The distribution of the vaccine being done in phases.  

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) developed a plan for distribution, based on risk, in order to be efficient and to ensure equity in distribution.    At this time they have made recommendations for the first 3 phases. Each state is then able to use the recommendations to decide on how to role out the vaccination process in their state.

Phase 1a includes health care workers and nursing home/long term care facility residents. Who will be included in Phase 1b, in Iowa, was just announced by The Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC). They have announced that it should include those over the age of 75 and some groups of essential workers in certain situations. Current direction by the IDAC is that all of Phase 1a needs to be completed before Phase 1b can start.  

As our state continues working feverishly to finish up vaccinating Phase 1a, be assured that Clayton County has been doing their part. Our county received enough vaccine to finish Phase 1a. Our county has frequent meetings with the state and with the multiple health organizations in our county. This has allowed Clayton County to collaborate and efficiently disperse the doses.  

Many counties in Iowa have finished vaccinating Phase 1a.  Now we wait.  We wait until the state lets us know when we can move forward.  

In the meantime, the health care providers in your community are working diligently making plans to vaccinate the citizens of Clayton County.  They are waiting for word from the state and the next delivery of vaccines.  As soon as they get the word that Phase 1b can start, it will happen.  

Be patient. We are all anxious. We are all excited and ready to help make it happen. Your turn to help and be vaccinated, will happen.  

It is important to remember that wearing masks, washing your hands and watching your distance, will need to continue until the country sees a significant drop in cases.  So, hang in there.  Summer is just around the corner.

We truly are in this together.

Be safe, be well and be kind.

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