Supply of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is expected to be pretty limited in the beginning. So The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has provided recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should get the vaccination first.
CDC’s recommendations are based on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts.
All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people. In order to make sure they meet all the safety standards. Adults of different races, ethnicities, and ages, including adults over the age of 65, participated in the clinical trials.
Luckily, there were no serious safety concerns. The most common side effects were pain at the injection site and symptoms like fever and chills.
In order for the COVID-19 vaccination to protect you – Two doses are needed.
Depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second shot 3-4 weeks after your first shot is needed. To get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against this serious disease. Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Risks and benefits will be explained to everyone offered a COVID-19 vaccine
Explaining the risks and benefits of any treatment to a patient is the standard. Written consent is not required by federal law to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in the United States. However, providers of the vaccine should consult with their own legal counsel for requirements in each state, as it relates to consent.
Who Gets The Vaccine First?
CDC recommends that initial supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine be allocated to:
- Healthcare personnel – All paid and unpaid workers serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients of infectious materials.
- Long-term care facility residents – Adults who reside in facilities that provide medical and personal care services to anyone who is unable to live independently.
- Medical First Responders: High risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their response to medical emergencies such as Emergency Medical Technicians, Police, and Fire.
After a review of all the available information, ACIP and CDC agreed the lifesaving benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for LTCF residents outweigh the risks of possible side effects. Consent for the vaccination in LTCF’s should be obtained from residents (or the person appointed to make medical decisions on their behalf) and documented in the resident’s chart.
- Frontline essential workers – Such as corrections officers, public transit workers, food and agricultural workers, grocery store workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.)
- People aged 75 years and older – Due to the 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 would have already gotten the vaccination in Phase 1a.
If you are age 75 or older and are interested in getting vaccinated against Covid, make sure to register with VAMS (the Vaccine Administration Management System, which is a system the federal government is using to administer the vaccine). Go to the link below (you’ll be prompted to enter some basic info):
Once you’ve registered with VAMS, you’ll receive a confirmation email from DPH. Followed by another email (within 2wks) from VAMS that either approves/denies the registration. If approved, you’ll then be able to schedule a vaccination appointment thru VAMS. Remember to check email Spam/Junk folders for the emails.
- Individuals and staff in congregate settings
- People aged 65 – 74 years – Due to the high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. *People aged 65 – 74 years who are also residents of long-term care facilities would have been offered the vaccination in Phase 1a.
- People aged 16 – 64 years with underlying medical conditions – which increases the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
- People who have a weakened immune system
- People who have autoimmune conditions
- People who have previously had Guillain-Barre syndrome
- People who have previously had Bell’s palsy
- Other essential workers – workers in transportation and logistics, information technology, food service, law, housing construction and finance, communications, energy, media, public safety, and public health.
Experts don’t have enough information about the COVID-19 vaccines In real-life conditions. People who get vaccinated should continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19 after they receive the vaccination.
The goal is to get everyone easily vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. But large enough quantities of the vaccine are needed. Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines. In doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
Throughout the rest of your body:
When should you call the doctor
In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if:
- Your side effects are worrying you or don’t seem to be going away after a few days
- The redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. Therefore COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.
If you’ve received a vaccine, your healthcare provider would have given you this “what to expect…” handout.
Is The COVID-19 Vaccine Free?
Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers may be able to charge administration fees for giving the shot.
Vaccination providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fundexternal icon.
Does Medicare Cover The COVID-19 Vaccine?
There had been speculation that Medicare might not cover the COVID-19 vaccine if it was released through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) unless the government made changes to the current rulings. Fortunately, the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) issued the following statement:
To ensure broad access to a vaccine for America’s seniors, CMS released an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC) today that establishes that any vaccine that receives Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization, either through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or licensed under a Biologics License Application (BLA), will be covered under Medicare as a preventive vaccine at no cost to beneficiaries. The IFC also implements provisions of the CARES Act that ensure swift coverage of a COVID-19 vaccine by most private health insurance plans without cost sharing from both in and out-of-network providers during the course of the public health emergency (PHE).
COVID-19 Vaccinations In Connecticut
Connecticut has prepared for the authorization and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and is currently in Phase 1a. The goal is for all residents of Connecticut to have access to the vaccination, although this will likely not occur until late Spring or early Summer 2021. For all vaccination updates, refer to the CT.Gov Portal.
Guidelines For Receiving The Vaccine
Vaccine administration for healthcare workers will be available at hospitals, outpatient clinics, and local health departments. The vaccine is expected to be very limited in December. So therefore all healthcare personnel should be able to receive their first dose of the COVID vaccine during the month of January. If they did not already receive it in December.
Residents of long-term care facilities should talk to their facility leadership and contacts about receiving the vaccine. All vaccine clinics in long-term care facilities will be administered by CVS and Walgreens as part of a program coordinated by the federal government
Employers play a critical role in ensuring access to the COVID-19 vaccine for their staff. And communicating about eligibility, as supply will be very limited. Employers are responsible for making sure that only employees who fit the criteria are scheduled to receive the vaccine.
In order to make the vaccine available to staff members, the following steps have to be taken:
- One representative (referred to as the “Employer Coordinator”) from each organization should complete this survey.
- The representative should be an individual who has access to a roster of eligible personnel within their organization (i.e. healthcare personnel for Phase 1a).
- Completing this survey will prompt an email to be sent from the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) to the employer coordinator, in order to register the organization. Verification may take 24-48 hours, so be patient waiting for that email.
- Once registered, the coordinator can upload a roster that allows eligible personnel to schedule a vaccination appointment once the supply is available. The employer coordinator will also be invited to attend a training session covering VAMS as well as enabling vaccine access for your workforce.
For Self-Employed and Independent Contractors
Anyone who is self-employed, an independent contractor. Otherwise not affiliated with the employer group but do meet the criteria for Phase 1a, should fill out this form.
Upcoming vaccine eligibility phases between January and May have not been finalized. Therefore no decisions have yet been made about the prioritization of individuals beyond Phase 1a.
Summer and Fall Phases
Although vaccinations for the general public are not expected to begin until this summer. Residents should know that vaccinations are expected to be available where you would regularly get vaccinated. At pharmacies, doctors’ offices, community health clinics, local health clinics, and through other providers.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and is for general informational purposes only.
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Marketing & Technology Director at RWC, LLC, Attorneys & Counselors at Law
Ukraine born and Israel / Miami, FL raised. University of Miami graduate in the Marketing field.
Mom to a girl, a boy, and a Siberian Husky.