Covid Vaccine Coverage
Submitted by Susan Johnson, RN-BC, MPH
Hoag Health Ministries – Faith Community Nursing
Watching Dr. Beth’s eyes fill with tears in silent response to my question, ‘How are you coping with caring for the Covid patients’, said it all. Emotions ran high amongst Hoag’s front-line doctors and nurses receiving their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine in December. Staff portrayed strength, but the fatigue, frustration, grief and sorrow were not far below the surface. If for no one else, follow the public health rules for the nations’ caregivers. They deserve our support.
And now we have Hope in the form of a safe and effective vaccine that provides up to 95% coverage in most people, including those over the age of 65. Besides a sore arm, side effects are relatively rare, but do include the usual post-vaccine possibilities of fatigue, fever, aches & pains, headache and even rarer, anaphylactic shock. Anyone with concerns about the vaccine should consult with their physician for final approval.
Where and how to get the vaccine remains the evolving question. The www.othena.com website allows you to register. Othena may notify you with an upcoming appointment time/location or you can also check back periodically to see if any appointments are available. It does work, however, patience is key.
Once the vaccine is available to the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA), it will be distributed to partner sites. Hospitals, medical groups, nursing homes, senior centers, large scale distribution PODS (Disneyland) and others all await the vaccine before they can start providing the shots to the community. Currently, healthcare workers and persons over the age of 65 are eligible for appointments.
Herd immunity is needed to prevent the spread and mutation of the virus. We need 70-90% of the population to have had the disease and/or the vaccine to reach this level of immunity. Although some recover from very mild symptoms of the disease, as we have all seen, over 2 million lives worldwide have been lost due to Covid.
As Faith leaders, either as clergy, deacons, nurses or others, we can all play a role in ending the Covid-19 pandemic. We need to be the collective voices advocating for responsibility, basing actions on facts gathered from reliable sources, setting the example for others by what we do, getting the vaccine when available and encouraging or assisting others to do so, too. Visit www.Covid19.hoag.org for an excellent overview of many of the common Covid questions.
Consider hosting a Covid vaccination clinic for your congregants and communities. Details are currently being developed through the OCHCA and coming soon. If interested, contact Hoag Health Ministries at [email protected] and information will be shared when available.
As the Covid vaccine roll-out evolves, what I write today may not be true tomorrow. Keep up with the news, check reliable web-sites: more help and hope are on their way. Through your efforts and contributions, we will emerge from the devastating effects of this global pandemic and begin the healing process.
For current information on Covid health education, vaccine development, safety, testing sites and statistics visit the following resources: