I’ve been talking with a lot of you about the upcoming COVID vaccines and I had some answers to common questions I’d like to share. As your pharmacist, I want to be a resource for you as you try to continue doing what’s best for your family throughout the pandemic. Plus, this will be one of the ways I’ll communicate updates as we proceed through the Department of Health’s vaccination schedule. So here we go. First post on the website!
1) Will Market Place be administering the vaccine? YES!!! We are excited to be a part of providing this to our patients and community. We are slated to get an initial shipment of vaccine from ADH in the next couple of weeks so we can take care of a long-term care facility we provide service for. After that, Lord willing, we will receive more vaccines to continue moving through the ADH vaccination schedule. I really want to be able to provide this vaccine for all of my patients, but please hear this: if the time comes in ADH schedule for you to get your vaccine and we do not have them in stock at the time but someone else does, DON’T WAIT. This is an enormous undertaking to vaccinate a large portion of the population, so it is going to take all the pharmacies and clinics working together to meet the needs of the community. Even more than I want to be the one offering you protection, I want you protected ASAP.
2) Are you going to get the vaccine?
Yes I will. At this point, we very nearly have two vaccines that seem to be both safe and effective options for the prevention of COVID-19. The opportunity is not only for us as individuals to take the next step towards “normal” but for us as a community to continue looking out for our neighbors and loved ones who are also at risk. Predominant side effects of the vaccine are fever, headache, nausea, and fatigue. These are very common with other vaccines like the flu and shingles vaccines. Each individual will respond to it differently and we will do everything we can to screen potential recipients beforehand for anything that may increase chances of these or other side effects. That’s why our vaccine questionnaires are always so important! I completely understand anyone who is concerned about the “warp speed“ of the vaccine development. I also absolutely believe this is a decision every individual is free to make. We are doing our best to stay ahead of the rapidly developing information so that we can answer any questions or concerns you have.
3) When will I get my shot?
Here I’d like to refer you to the ADH website for a rough outline of the “phases“ of vaccination that have been developed for vaccine providers to follow. https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/HAN-covid_phased_plan_12_15Final.pdf
This document also has additional links to more information on the vaccine and development process. Phase 1 focuses on folks who are most at risk either from their job/living environment or their underlying medical conditions. ADH currently projects phase 1 taking all the way through March. So if you are under the age of 65 and have no chronic medical conditions it is possible that vaccines won’t happen until April or later. Folks over 65 or folks with chronic medical conditions who don’t fall into one of the earlier phase 1 categories will possibly begin receiving vaccines in February and March. These things are all dependent on having consistent supply of vaccine. I will post here and on our Facebook page as we move through various phases and with inventory updates so we can get our eligible patients in as soon as possible.
4) What should we do in the meantime?
-Most of the country is in pretty rough shape as far as infection rates go right now. So with a vaccine in our near futures it is the time to stay committed to the things we know can help. Keep masking up. Keep social distancing. Keep staying home when you are sick. Keep washing and sanitizing like crazy. Keep checking in on neighbors and loved ones who can’t get out. Keep using our curbside or delivery service if you are sick in any way. Keep buying excessive amounts of toilet paper.
-More correlative data is coming out in the possible role of vitamin D in at least decreasing the severity of cases, if not having some preventive benefit. Folks with severe disease have very commonly been found to have extremely low D levels. Whether they were lacking the D in the first place and it led to severe disease or if the disease actually does something to deplete D levels we don’t know yet. It would be a prudent move to supplement C, D3, and Zinc.
-Get any other shots you want/need NOW. Because we don’t know how these COVID-19 vaccines are affected by other shots, there is a required minimum 14 days before and after the COVID vaccine for any other vaccine. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot, please do. We have shots available for all ages and we even have some that are provided through ADH’s flu vaccine program so they are COMPLETELY FREE, EVEN WITHOUT INSURANCE. Tell a friend, coworker, or a neighbor who needs a free shot to come get one. If you need to start or finish your Shingrix series, come on in. If you need a TDAP tetanus booster to protect the new grandbaby from whooping cough, come on in. If you need a pneumonia shot, come on in. If you think I sound shot-crazy, I sort of am. They work. They are all lower risk (and much lower cost) than the diseases they prevent. And it’s an excuse to come get some human interaction at the pharmacy.
Thank you for trusting us to take care of you. We are grateful for each of you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. See you soon.