What you should know about the COVID-19 vaccine
Here’s how the vaccine works and why you should consider getting it when you are eligible
Sponsored content by Memorial Regional Health
The COVID-19 vaccine is available locally in Moffat County for eligible individuals. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 200,000 new COVID-19 cases have been reported every day over the past week in the country, and during that period, an average of 3,200 Americans have died each day. The vaccine is highly effective in protecting our community from the deadly virus and gets us one step closer to our pre-pandemic lives.
As vaccines continue to be rolled out, information will change and be updated accordingly among local healthcare facilities. Memorial Regional Health has already administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to frontline workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Craig under the direction of Moffat County Public Health.
Colorado is currently in Phase 1A and 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, meaning those who are now eligible to receive the vaccine include people age 70 and older, moderate-risk healthcare workers, first responders, state government officials and other frontline essential workers.
Who should get the vaccine?
Dr. Netana Machacek, family medicine physician at MRH, said the Moderna vaccine that is being used in Moffat County has been approved for adults 18 years and older. Everyone should get the COVID-19 vaccine during its phased release, when they are able to do so.
“The vaccine can help protect you from COVID-19 infection, which can be life threatening, and it could possibly protect your family and friends as well,” Dr. Machacek said. “The quicker that we can get people vaccinated, the quicker we can start to return to life as normal.”
Most eligible adults can safely take the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have questions about the vaccine related to your own medical history, consult your physician before getting vaccinated.
How the vaccine works
The vaccine essentially gives your body instructions on how to make a piece of protein that is specific to this particular strain of coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The protein helps the body learn to recognize the virus so that if you are infected in the future, your immune system is more effective in fighting it.
This type of vaccine doesn’t contain any pieces of the virus; the protein that is manufactured by your own body is only a piece, meaning you cannot get the virus from the vaccine.
“It’s also important to know that it cannot affect your DNA because it doesn’t get into the part of the cell (the nucleus) where the DNA is stored,” Dr. Machacek explained.
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine had to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure they are safe and effective.
“While the risk of minor side effects is fairly high, they do go away on their own,” Dr. Machacek explained. “The risk of major side effects is exceptionally small.”
Minor side effects within the first few days after vaccination can include pain at the injection site, fatigue, nausea, headache, joint or muscle aches. Dr. Machacek recommends speaking to your healthcare provider about over-the-counter medications you may be able to take to ease those side effects.
“The risks associated with the vaccine are much lower than the risk of getting COVID-19,” she said. “We don’t know everything about the vaccine or the disease because both are so new; however, the risk of death associated with COVID-19 is significant and many survivors have long-term deficits. For those who routinely work with the public, the risk of getting infected is much greater than the risks associated with the vaccines.”
Memorial Regional Health frequently updates its COVID-19 vaccine resources page for patients at memorialregionalhealth.com/covid-19-vaccine. If you are over the age of 70 and would like to receive the vaccine, call 970-826-2400 and ask to be scheduled for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Appointments are limited. There is no cost for the vaccine, but there is a nominal charge for the administration. This will be billed to insurance and is covered by most insurances including Medicare or Medicaid.
If you are seeking more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, reach out to your healthcare provider to discuss your options. You can also call the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at 303-389-1687 (local) or 877-462-2911 (toll free).
It is still unknown as to whether a vaccinated person can spread the virus, although they will likely not show symptoms themselves. Individuals should continue to wear face coverings and physically distance in public until more people are vaccinated, Dr. Machacek said.
Information about how and when you can receive the vaccine will continue to change as the state moves through its different outlined phases. For up-to-date COVID-19 vaccine information, speak with your provider or go to memorialregionalhealth.com/covid-19-vaccine.
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