On Dec. 18, Riverwood Healthcare Center received its first shipment of 100 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Per federal guidelines, Riverwood is offering the vaccine initially to its frontline healthcare workers.
“We are happy to begin distributing the vaccine to our staff,” said Dr. David Taylor, chief medical officer. “The side effects are minimal for most people. I received my vaccine shot on Dec. 18 and had a sore shoulder for 24 hours, felt a little fatigued the next day, but then felt fine. After the first shot, the vaccine is 50% effective in preventing COVID-19 and 95% effective within about a week after the second shot. So, it takes a little over a month to get full immunity from the vaccine.”
Taylor added: “Our next shipment of vaccine, scheduled to arrive the last week in December, will include 55 doses that we will continue administering to those who have direct patient care duties or exposure. We look forward to the vaccine becoming widely available to all who want it in the months ahead.”
Aitkin County Public Health will receive their first shipment containing 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine soon. Like Healthcare Center, Public Health has been given direction on which groups to prioritize for initial vaccine allocations.
“While Riverwood focuses on their internal medical team, and the Pharmacy Partnership Program will focus on our nursing home staff and residents, Public Health will be offering vaccination to our County’s emergency medical services personnel, such as our ambulance crews and other first responders,” said Public Health Supervisor Erin Melz. “COVID vaccinators will also be eligible in this initial group.
“After everyone in these sectors who wishes to be vaccinated has done so, next eligible will be staff and residents of assisted living facilities, dental office personnel, pharmacy staff, correctional settings and group home residents and staff,” Melz added. “As more vaccine becomes available and we are able to complete vaccination for our targeted populations, more information will become available as to how and where the general public can receive their vaccine.”
A vaccine for COVID-19 is only one of the ways to stop the spread of the disease. Because the supply of vaccine will be limited at first, doing other things to help stop the spread will be just as important as it is now. This means still wearing a facemask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, washing your hands a lot, and staying home if you are sick.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, go to https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vaccine.html or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html