COVID-19 VACCINE WAITLIST SIGN-UP NOW OPEN at www.cghmc.com/vaccine
CGH is beginning a waitlist for **CGH patients 65 years of age and older** who want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Registering for our waitlist does NOT mean you have an immediate appointment, as vaccine supply is limited everywhere, but it does put you on our waitlist that we will use to schedule vaccination appointments.
The waitlist will be separated into three groups - 86 and older, 75-85 and 65-74. We will schedule appointments to those who are the oldest on the waitlist and work our way down by age. (Please note, if the patient is 86 and their spouse is 70, both would be allowed to schedule at the same time.) Once vaccine is available, you will receive more information about the date, time and location of your appointment.
**To have your name put on the waitlist that we will use to schedule vaccination appointments:
Call our Vaccine Waitlist Hotline (815-632-5298) Monday through Friday from 5-7 pm or Saturday from 8 am-noon.
Our receptionists will also add patient names to the waitlist if requested during their clinic appointments.
Again, we do not know how many vaccines we will receive over the next few months. Therefore, we also suggest signing up for information from the Whiteside County Health Department regarding additional community vaccine clinics they may be holding: https://www.whitesidehealth.org/covid-19-information/covid-19-information.html
CGH COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for the Public/FAQs
The COVID-19 vaccine is coming! We are excited and hopeful that the coronavirus vaccine will be widely available soon! We are working closely with the Whiteside County Health Department and hope to get you vaccinated as soon as possible. Below is a list of common, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we have received about the vaccine. (For a printable copy of our CGH COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for the Public/FAQs, click here.)
Until the vaccine becomes widely available, the State of Illinois, through local county health departments, is controlling the distribution of the vaccine. CGH will be allocated some vaccine for us to immunize our patients, but we do not know exactly how many. With the supply limited, we are following the guidelines that have been established by the CDC and IDPH in terms of determining the priority for vaccination.
• Currently, CGH will only be adding patients of CGH and age 65 and older to our waitlist.
Registering for our waitlist DOES NOT mean you have an immediate appointment (as the vaccine supply is limited everywhere), but it does put you on our “waitlist” that will help us to more efficiently schedule a vaccination appointment for you.
Yes. At a minimum, contact your local health department. As stated above, currently the distribution of the vaccine is under the control of the State of Illinois and the local health departments. We encourage you to get the vaccine where it is first available to you. In some cases, that may be from your local county health department.
Local pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS are expected to receive vaccine sometime as well. At this point, we have no information about if/when that would happen.
Once we know we will have a vaccine supply, we will work off of our waitlist and you will be notified. The waitlist will be separated into three age groups: 86 and older, 75-85 years old and 65-74. We will schedule appointments for those who are the oldest and work our way down by age. (Please note: if a patient is 86 and their spouse is over 65, both would be allowed to schedule at the same time.)
CGH vaccines are currently being given in the Ryberg Auditorium at the hospital. The whole process shouldn’t take very long. You will need to check in, and your information will be verified. You will be shown to a vaccination station that is staffed by CGH nurses. After the vaccine is given, you will need to be observed for 15 minutes (30 minutes in special circumstances). More specific instructions will be given at the time your appointment is scheduled.
Currently, there are two companies producing the vaccine: Pfizer and Moderna. Johnson & Johnson has a vaccine that may be approved soon. More than likely, you will be receiving the Moderna vaccine that is a two-part vaccine given roughly 28 days apart.
No. Both doses must be from the same brand. We will schedule you for your second injection at the time of your initial vaccination so PLEASE BRING YOUR CALENDAR.
Mild side effects are common and may include: soreness in the arm receiving the injection, muscle aches, fevers, chills, headaches and fatigue. These usually are an indication that your immune response is working. SEVERE side effects, thankfully, are NOT COMMON.
The growing experience with the vaccine is showing that the older you are, the less side effects you tend to have (one of the few advantages to being older!). Concerns about side effects are valid but please balance that with the risk of COVID itself.
We do not recommend taking ibuprofen or Tylenol before getting the vaccine. However, for mild symptoms, if needed, you may take them afterward.
Your insurance will be billed for the administration, but not for the vaccine itself. The vaccine is free of charge. You may receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) stating you have an out-of-pocket expense, but you should not be billed for this. If for some reason you do receive a bill, please contact the business office and we will take care of it.
Yes, if you have recovered and have been released from quarantine (at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms).
Yes. But you will need to be observed for 30 minutes following.
Yes, but you will need to be observed for 30 minutes following. Please bring your Epi-Pen with you.
Yes. If it was a severe reaction in the past, you will need to be observed for 30 minutes afterward.
Yes, as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID. Please speak with your physician or health care provider first if you have any questions.
Yes, as long as it has been 14 days since you received any other vaccine.
Yes, if you are a CGH patient. Again, we encourage you to contact your local county health department as well.
No. At this time, the Whiteside County Health Department will be vaccinating essential workers.
We strive to do our best for you every day. This whole pandemic has been difficult for everyone and we appreciate your patience and support. Keeping you healthy is our primary concern. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. With the COVID vaccine, we hope to see an end to this historic pandemic. Thank you for your help!
In the News
In collaboration with the Whiteside County Health Department, CGH Medical Center will be receiving a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination clinics will be set up for established CGH clinic patients, age 65 or older, as vaccine becomes available. As a reminder, you will need to wait two weeks after receiving ANY type of vaccine before receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. We will have more information to follow when specific dates, times and scheduling of vaccination clinics is available.
* Residents age 65 and over
- First responders: Fire, law enforcement, 911 workers, security personnel, school officers
- Education: Teachers, principals, student support, student aids, day care worker
- Food and agriculture: Processing, plants, veterinary health, livestock services, animal care
- Manufacturing: Industrial production of good for distribution to retail, wholesale or other manufactures
- Corrections workers and inmates: Jail officers, juvenile facility staff, workers providing in-person support, inmates
- USPS workers
- Public transit workers: Flight crew, bus drivers, train conductors, taxi drivers, para-transit drivers, in-person support, ride sharing services
- Grocery store workers: Baggers, cashiers, stockers, pickup, customer service
- Shelters and day care staff: Homeless shelter, women’s shelter, adult day/drop-in program, sheltered workshop, psycho-social rehab
The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived at CGH Medical Center! This is a light at the end of a VERY long tunnel for our healthcare workers and our community. Matt Hammer, PharmD, Director of CGH Pharmacy (center), receives the vaccine shipment from Emily Davy Gonzalez, Infectious Disease RN, Whiteside County Health Department and Whiteside County Sheriff John Booker.
While not all the counties in Region 1 are receiving allocations of vaccine, the vaccine is being utilized in the Region to reach healthcare workers and long term care residents that are most at risk as part of the Phase 1a vaccine distribution. As more vaccine becomes available, additional shipments of vaccine will be allocated to continue to meet the priority group populations in additional areas of the region. Please watch www.cghmc.com/covid19vaccine for additional information.
The Northern Illinois Rockford Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties.
Local health departments in Region 1 are announcing that a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine has arrived to the Region. While not all the counties in the Region are receiving allocations of vaccine, the vaccine is being utilized in the Region to reach healthcare workers and long term care residents that are most at risk as part of the Phase 1a vaccine distribution. As more vaccine becomes available, additional shipments of vaccine will be allocated to continue to meet the priority group populations in additional areas of the region.
On November 20, 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech (the Sponsor) submitted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) request to FDA for a COVID-19 vaccine intended to prevent COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Click here to read the FDA Briefing Document that includes safety and efficacy data from ongoing phase 3 trials.
The first full day of immunizations in England brought about 2 significant allergic reactions. These were both in people who had allergies bad enough to have Epipen prescriptions. There was not a signal for this in the Pfizer trial, and so far seen in only two people. For the time being, those with a history of severe allergic reactions (i.e. requiring you to carry an Epipen or similar rescue medication) are being asked to hold off in England. There are likely ways to mange this if it becomes a significant issue - we will follow this.
Click below to view frequently asked questions from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
For a printable copy of the following IDPH FAQ's, click here.
Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 will be available when they are demonstrated to be safe and efficacious in large phase 3 clinical trials, have been approved by regulatory authorities (the Food and Drug Administration in the United States), and have been manufactured and distributed to places where people can be vaccinated.
To demonstrate efficacy, sufficient differences in disease must be observed between those who received the viral vaccine and those who received the placebo or comparison vaccine in a phase 3 clinical trial. This depends on the likelihood of infection in places where the studies are conducted but can take from several months to years. Once sufficient data are available to be confident that the vaccine is efficacious, and no evidence of serious adverse events is identified, a rigorous and transparent approval process should take place.
Manufacturing capacity has already been developed for some vaccines and vaccine distribution systems are being put in place. However, because of limited quantities of vaccine, some groups of people will be offered the vaccine first, likely health care workers, other essential personnel, and those most vulnerable to severe disease and death.
The first supply of COVID-19 vaccine is anticipated as early as mid-December (pending Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)). It is anticipated that the initial vaccine supply will be limited, and therefore allocated to those at highest risk for spreading the virus, contracting the virus or those at the highest risk of death. These groups include health care personnel, Long-term care (LTC) residents and staff, and critical infrastructure employees, as defined by federal guidelines. However, the vaccine supply will increase over time and all adults should be able to be vaccinated in 2021.
Initially, hospitals will provide COVID-19 vaccine to health care personnel. As more vaccine is distributed by the federal government, several thousand vaccination providers will be available, including but not limited to doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), across the state.
CDC is working with pharmacies to establish a system to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services to residents and staff in LTC settings, including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities where most individuals are over 65 years of age.
Illinois is working with local health departments and providers across the state to provide COVID-19 vaccinations that resemble larger versions of yearly flu clinics, rather than the mass vaccination activities of the past.
Because vaccine will be very limited when it first comes out, administration will be limited to those identified in prioritized (high-risk) groups. This is to ensure that all individuals in the high-risk groups are able to receive the vaccine. As more vaccine becomes available, those groups eligible to receive the vaccine will expand.
There is not a scheduled calendar date, but once the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) proffers its recommendation on priority vaccination groups, IDPH will distribute vaccine to Regional Hospital Coordinating Centers (RHCC) partners throughout the state. From there, the distribution will continue ultimately through local health departments to local healthcare providers.
Vaccine will be distributed according to the population of each county, adjusted to ensure health equity by weighting according to the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI).
Distribution within counties will be overseen by local health departments. IDPH will work with LHDs to ensure providers have adequate amounts of vaccine to support the municipalities/communities they serve.
All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States need two shots to be effective. The other COVID-19 vaccine uses one shot.
If you choose not to get a second dose, you may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. The first dose of the vaccine will provide some protection, but the recommendation is to receive two doses to be protected as intended.
CDC is structuring shipments in such a way that 21 or 28 days after the first shipment, the same number of doses will be shipped, so providers will have enough vaccine for a second dose. The 21- or 28-day requirement between doses is a minimum requirement, not a maximum. If, for some reason, you are unable to receive the second dose at the recommended interval, you can receive the second dose at a later date.
IDPH licenses EMTs and CNAs. All other healthcare professionals including but not limited to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists are licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
It is the decision of IDFPR as to who may or may not administer a vaccination within their scope of practice and determine how they will modify their scopes of practice to allow for additional vaccinators. Currently dentists, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have had their scope of practice extended by IIDFPR to allow them to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. IDPH has issued recommendations to allow EMT’s at the advanced and intermediate levels to administer vaccine, as long as their Medical Director for their EMS system follows certain guidelines.
There is no federal or state mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Decisions regarding immunization at private workplaces are up to the employer.
There is no requirement for students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time. Currently, a pediatric vaccine is not available, and it may be some time before one is approved and becomes available.
There are no legal repercussions (such as fines, sanctions or punishments) for refusing the vaccine. If you do not get vaccinated, you will not be protected against the virus that causes COVID-19 and will be more likely to be infected with the virus. Additionally, you will be at risk of transmitting this deadly virus to loved ones and other community members.
When people recover from some viral infections, such as measles or mumps, they are protected against reinfection and would not need to be vaccinated. However, for other diseases, such as pneumococcal pneumonia or influenza, it is important to be vaccinated (or revaccinated) despite having disease because the vaccine protects against several strains or types of the pathogen and thus can still be valuable.
We are still learning about COVID-19. At this time, there is not enough information available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. More studies are needed to better understand how long natural immunity lasts with COVID-19.
Yes, it is very important to get the influenza vaccine, particularly this season when both influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2 will infect people. A seasonal flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19. Being infected with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, could lead to a more severe illness, which is why it is more important now than ever to get the flu vaccine.
Reducing the number of people who get severe influenza and require hospitalization will also help ensure that the health care system, hospitals and intensive care units will not be overwhelmed should there be an increase in Covid-19 cases this fall and winter.
The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority. Currently, clinical trials are evaluating investigational COVID-19 vaccines with many thousands of study participants to generate scientific data and other information for the FDA to determine their safety and effectiveness.
If the FDA determines a vaccine meets its safety and effectiveness standards, it can make these vaccines available for use in the U.S. by approval or Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). After the FDA makes its determination, ACIP will review the available data in order to make vaccine recommendations to the CDC. ACIP will then recommend vaccine use. After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, vaccine safety monitoring systems will watch for adverse events (possible side effects). CDC is working to expand safety surveillance through new systems and additional information sources, as well as enhancing existing safety monitoring systems.
Phase 1 clinical trials assess the safety and dosage of a vaccine in a small number of people, typically a dozen to several dozen healthy volunteers. Whether a vaccine stimulates immune responses is often assessed in a phase 1 study but this is better assessed in phase 2 studies, which typically involve hundreds of people including some special groups such as children, people with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, and older adults. Vaccine safety is also assessed in phase 2 studies, in which adverse events not detected in phase 1 trials may be identified because a larger and more diverse group of people receive the vaccine. However, only in much larger phase 3 clinical trials can it be demonstrated whether a vaccine is actually protective against disease and safety is more fully assessed.
Phase 3 clinical trials often include thousands of volunteers, and for Covid-19 vaccines will involve tens of thousands (30,000 to 45,000 people in some of the ongoing phase 3 trials). In phase 3 trials, participants are randomized to receive either the viral vaccine or a placebo vaccine (sometimes a vaccine against another disease or a harmless substance like saline). Randomization is a process to determine who receives the vaccine and who receives the placebo without any bias, like flipping a coin. To further prevent any bias in interpreting the study data, participants and most of the investigators will not know if an individual received the vaccine or placebo. The participants are then followed to see how many in each group get the disease. If the vaccine is efficacious, many fewer people who received the viral vaccine will get the disease compared to those who received the placebo vaccine. It takes time for cases of disease to accumulate so that we can be confident there is a true difference between the two groups, and this is why these phase 3 trials often take a long time. Assessing safety is also a major goal of phase 3 trials, both short-term safety (e.g. fever, tenderness, muscle aches) and long-term safety (e.g. autoimmune conditions or enhanced disease following infection).
After a vaccine is approved and in more widespread use, it is critically important to continue to monitor for both safety and effectiveness. Some very rare side effects may only be detectable when large numbers of people have been vaccinated. Safety concerns that are discovered at this late stage could lead a licensed vaccine to be withdrawn from use, although this is very rare.
The FDA will make the determination on safety when they are deciding whether or not to approve the EUA.
Through their respective clinical trials, Pfizer and Moderna have indicated their vaccines are approximately 95% effective.
Information gathered through clinical trials becomes public in the course of the EUA submission. Once the EUA is submitted, these documents become accessible by the public through the FDA.
Drugs and vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. In situations when there is good scientific reason to believe that a drug is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its use even if definitive proof of the efficacy of the drug is not known, especially for diseases that cause high mortality.
Emergency use authorizations were granted by the FDA Commissioner for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (later revoked) and for the use of convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized patients with Covid-19. Many are concerned that Emergency Use Authorization for a vaccine could be issued prematurely, before sufficient safety and efficacy data have been generated through phase 3 clinical trials.
It is important to emphasize that the bar for ensuring safety of a vaccine is higher than for a therapeutic to treat an ill person. Vaccines are given to potentially millions of healthy people, unlike drugs for sick people, and loss of trust in a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 could spill over into loss of trust in other vaccines, seriously jeopardizing public health.
No, it is not possible to get Covid-19 from vaccines. Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 use inactivated virus, parts of the virus (e.g. the spike protein), or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause Covid-19.
After the FDA’s decision on an EUA, ACIP will make recommendations for who should be vaccinated. ACIP will review data from clinical trials and determine if it is safe for pregnant women or other population groups to receive the vaccine.
Currently, a pediatric vaccine is not available, and it may be some time before one is approved and becomes available. Clinical trials need to be conducted with children before determining if the existing COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for them.
While children are less likely to develop severe disease and die from Covid-19, there are several reasons for ensuring that eventually there is a vaccine that is safe for children. Although rare, some children may develop severe disease or die from Covid-19. Children have also developed a severe inflammatory syndrome, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Children may be important transmitters of SARS-CoV-2 and vaccinating them with a vaccine that reduces transmission could be important in controlling the pandemic. Finally, having a safe vaccine for children will build confidence towards opening up schools and learning centers for in-person educational processes.
The availability of a vaccine for youth, under the age of 18 years, will depend on the availability of a pediatric vaccine. Clinical trials need to be conducted with children before determining if the existing COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for them.
No, you are not being injected with the virus that causes COVID-19. None of the early COVID-19 vaccines tested in the U.S. use a live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each vaccine is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. At this time, the vaccines closest to receiving approval are mRNA - messenger ribonucleic acid - vaccines. Like other vaccines, mRNA vaccines work by training the immune system to recognize a virus threat and begin producing antibodies to protect itself.
Some people develop flu-like symptoms, such as mild fever and muscle aches, after getting a flu vaccination. These symptoms are not the same as having influenza. Similar to the flu vaccine, you may experience a sore arm, mild fever, and muscle aches, but you will not get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
Once a vaccine is approved, we will know more about contraindications to receiving the vaccine. Discuss any concerns you may have with your health care provider.
When the vaccine manufacturers submit a request for an EUA, data from their clinical trials will be shared and we will know more about any potential side effects. At this time, studies have shown few people have side effects and those who do have very mild ones that include a sore arm, mild fever, and muscle aches.
After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, many vaccine safety monitoring systems are in place to watch for adverse events (possible side effects). This continued monitoring can identify adverse events that may not have been seen during clinical trials. If an unexpected adverse event is observed, experts quickly study it further to assess whether it is a true safety concern.
The world’s attention has been on COVID-19 this year. Because financial and time resources have been dedicated to finding a COVID-19 vaccine, it was able to be developed quicker than vaccines in the past. These current COVID-19 vaccines under consideration were required to go through the same clinical trials and safety reviews as previously developed vaccines. The FDA issued guidance on the steps required for developing and ultimately licensing vaccines to prevent COVID-19 – the same rigorous safety standards required for all vaccines and all of the required steps were met.
Traditionally, it has taken many years to develop a vaccine, confirm its safety and efficacy, and manufacture the vaccine in sufficient quantities for public use. This timeline is substantially shortened for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in development. There are several ways this has been made possible. First, some clinical trials have combined phases 1 and 2 to assess safety and the immune responses. Second, because of the high number of new cases of Covid-19 in many places, differences in disease risk between those who received the viral vaccine and those who received the placebo or comparison vaccine can be measured more quickly than in the absence of a pandemic. Third, the United States government and others have heavily invested in building the manufacturing capacity to produce large numbers of vaccine doses before the findings of the phase 3 trials are available. Typically, vaccine manufacturers wait until the phase 3 trial is completed and shows safety and efficacy before making such a large investment in manufacturing capacity. None of these factors that contribute to the accelerated development of a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 imply that safety, scientific or ethical integrity are compromised, or that short-cuts have been made.
We are still learning about length of immunity. To determine how long protection lasts, follow-up studies are required to detect levels of both types of immune responses – antibody and T cell – as well as any repeated exposure risks. As more information becomes available, more information will be shared on the length of immunity.
There have already been cases where individuals have been shown to be infected twice but most often the second illness was mild or without any symptoms. This is what we would expect with an immune response that protects against disease but not infection.
There are ways to potentially make protection following vaccination more durable than following natural infection, such as with an adjuvant, an ingredient used in some vaccines that helps create a stronger immune response, or with booster doses of vaccine. These strategies to enhance vaccines may be particularly important for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and those with underlying diseases, who are at particular risk of severe Covid-19 but are also less likely to develop a protective immune response to a vaccine.
Although the first dose of vaccine offers some immunity, you will still be considered susceptible to COVID-19. The first dose of the vaccine will provide some protection, but the recommendation is to receive two doses to be protected as intended. Pfizer and Moderna have indicated their vaccines are approximately 95% effective.
The vaccine manufacturers, CDC, and the state are all committed to getting the vaccine to everyone as soon as possible. ACIP is a group of medical and public health experts that develop recommendations on how to use vaccines to control diseases in the U.S. ACIP decides on vaccine prioritization recommendations by reviewing the FDA information, clinical trial data, and other information. Initially, the limited supply of vaccine will only be available to those determined to be most at risk of exposure to COVID-19. As the vaccine supply increases, more people will be added to those prioritized until it is available to the adult population at large.
Yes. The vaccine candidates that are likely to be the first offered are preservative free.
Like any vaccine, there is no guarantee that you won’t get the virus, but early indications are the vaccines under consideration are 90%-95% effective in protecting against COVID-19.
The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19.
Until more studies are completed, a vaccine for children under 18 is not expected to be available in the immediate future.
At this time, we are not able to immediately move to Phase 5. The vaccine and/or a highly effective treatment needs to be widely available, and new cases need to be eliminated for a sustained period of time, before we can move to Phase 5 or we risk the possibility of increased cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
At this time, we are asking the public to continue wearing masks and practice physical distancing even if they have received the vaccine until a large proportion of the population is vaccinated and we are sure the vaccine provides long-term protection. As we learn more about immunity and the vaccine is widely available, this could change, but we are not at that point yet.
The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will absorb the cost of the vaccines.
There is no cost to the State for the vaccine. The federal government, through HHS and the CDC, oversees the allocation of vaccine to states.
There is no cost for the vaccine. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot. Vaccine 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 at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Although this information is dependent on the final redocumentations from ACIP, it is expected that manufacturing workers who are deemed essential will be in the second phase.
Although this information will be released by ACIP after the EUA is issued, these priority groups could include:
- Health care personnel
- Residents of Long-term care facilities
- Workers in essential and critical industries
- People at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions
- People 65 years of age and older
Examples of individuals in priority population groups
High risk workers in health care facilities
Physicians, nurses, respiratory technicians, dentists and hygienists, nursing assistants, assisted living facility staff, long-term care facility staff, group home staff, home caregivers, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), etc.
Residents in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities
Adults who live in facilities that provide a variety of services including medical and personal care to persons who are unable to live independently.
Health care personnel continue to be on the front line of the nation’s fight against this deadly pandemic. By providing critical care to those infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, many health care personnel are at high risk of being exposed to and getting sick with COVID-19. Health care personnel who get COVID-19 can also spread the virus to patients seeking care for other medical conditions that, in turn, increase patients’ risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Early vaccine access is critical to ensuring the health and safety of this essential workforce of approximately 21 million people across the USA, protecting not only them but also their patients, communities, and the broader health of our country.
People with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, regardless of their age. Severe illness means that the person with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or that they are at increased risk of dying. Early vaccine access is essential to ensuring the health and safety of this population that is disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Among adults, the risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults considered to be at the highest risk. Early vaccine access is vital to help protect this population that has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Workers in essential and critical industries are considered part of America’s critical infrastructure, as defined by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. Current data show that many of these workers are at increased risk for getting COVID-19. Early vaccine access is to protect them in order to maintain the essential services they provide U.S. communities.
Vaccines stimulate the human body’s own protective immune responses so that, if a person is infected with a pathogen, the immune system can quickly prevent the infection from spreading within the body and causing disease. In this way, vaccines mimic natural infection but without actually causing the person to become sick.
For SARS-CoV-2, antibodies that bind to and block the spike protein on the virus’s surface are thought to be most important for protection from disease because the spike protein is what attaches to human cells, allowing the virus to enter our cells. Blocking this entrance prevents infection.
Not all people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop disease (Covid-19 is the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2). These people have asymptomatic infection but can still transmit the virus to others. Most vaccines do not completely prevent infection but do prevent the infection from spreading within the body and from causing disease. Many vaccines can also prevent transmission, potentially leading to herd protection whereby unvaccinated people are protected from infection by the vaccinated people around them because they have less chance of exposure to the virus.
Several different types of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, are in development. Some are based on traditional methods for producing vaccines and others on newer methods. One of the more traditional ways of making a viral vaccine is to inactivate (kill) the virus with chemicals, such as is done with the flu vaccine, inactivated polio or hepatitis A vaccines, so that the virus can no longer multiply. Several inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are in development. Other vaccines are based on just a part of the bacteria or virus, typically one or more proteins, such as the vaccines for whooping cough (pertussis) and hepatitis B virus. For SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that focus on a part of the virus, this often means the spike protein on the surface of the virus.
Newer vaccine types include what are called viral vector vaccines, in which the SARS-CoV-2 gene for the spike protein is inserted into another harmless virus to deliver the gene to human cells where the spike protein is produced. The spike protein then stimulates immune responses. The most common viral vectors are adenoviruses, which typically cause common cold-like symptoms in people but are further weakened for vaccines so they cannot cause any disease at all. Several adenovirus vector vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 are in advanced clinical testing (phase 3 clinical trials).
Finally, instead of using a viral vector, the gene for the spike protein can be used directly as a vaccine in the form of DNA or messenger RNA (mRNA). These are the most novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Several mRNA vaccines are in advanced clinical testing.
Many manufacturers around the world are working on this global problem. This means that there will likely be multiple different types of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and they may work differently in different people. Hopefully, some will work well in older adults and in people with underlying conditions that impair their immune system, as these groups are more likely to get sick and die from Covid-19.