FCPH prepares for COVID vaccine distribution

25th local COVID-19 related death reported this week

Staff reports

A 25th local COVID-19 related death was reported on Wednesday as Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) plans for the distribution of the COVID vaccine. Local health departments are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine as early as Tuesday, Dec. 22.

The patient who passed away was a male in his 70s. Overall as of Wednesday, the county had 1,479 total cases (1,210 confirmed and 269 probable). Out of the total cases, 1,134 have recovered and 320 were active.

During Phase 1 of Ohio’s vaccine distribution, Ohio will offer vaccines to those most at risk and essential healthcare workers caring for COVID patients. Vaccines will not be available for all Ohioans yet.

FCPH said this week it will share more information as it becomes available.

According to FCPH, Phase 1A of the distribution will also include residents and staff at nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and veterans’ homes; patients and staff at psychiatric hospitals; people with intellectual disabilities and those who live with mental illness who live in group homes and their staff; and EMS responders.

All available vaccines will be administered to those who choose to receive it.

Later at an undetermined time, Phase 2 will include an increase in availability of the vaccine for other specific critical populations who choose to be vaccinated. Vaccines will still not be available for all Ohioans in Phase 2.

During Phases 3 and 4, the vaccine will be widely-available, and Ohio will continue to strategically vaccinate residents if they choose. During these phases, vaccines will begin to be available to all Ohioans.

The following are some frequently asked questions from the Ohio Department of Health:

Q: Why is a COVID-19 vaccine needed if social distancing and wearing masks prevent COVID-19 virus from spreading?

A: Getting us through the pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines boost your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like masks and social distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to or spreading the virus. Together, the coming COVID-19 vaccines and proper prevention measures will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Q: How many doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?

A: The two vaccines that have applied for emergency use authorization each require two doses. There is a vaccine in development and Phase 3 clinical trials that uses one dose. Ohioans who receive a dose of a particular vaccine must receive a second dose of the vaccine from the same manufacturer. For example, if you receive a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, your second dose must be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. If you receive a first dose of the Moderna vaccine, your second dose must be the Moderna vaccine.

Q: How will I know that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

A: The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine(s) available. Clinical trials study the effectiveness of the vaccine in thousands of study participants. Data from these trials will be provided to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine vaccine safety and effectiveness. The FDA uses rigorous standards during the evaluation and if it determines that a vaccine meets its safety and effectiveness requirements, it can make these available by approval or emergency use authorization. After FDA makes its determination, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review available data before making final vaccine recommendations to the CDC. There have been no shortcuts in the vaccine development process. The COVID-19 vaccine development process involved several steps comparable with those used to develop other vaccines, such as the flu or measles vaccine.

Q: Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: The federal government is committed to providing free or low-cost COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine doses purchased with taxpayer dollars will be given to Ohioans who choose to receive them at no cost.

Q: Will there be enough vaccine for everyone in Ohio?

A: When FDA first authorizes or approves the use of one or more COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, there may be a limited supply. This would mean that not everyone will be able to be vaccinated right away but, in time, as vaccination production ramps up, every Ohioan who chooses may receive a vaccine as soon as large quantities are available.

Q: Will Ohio make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?

A: No.

Q: Will my children be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Once a vaccine is available, there will be guidance on who should receive it from the vaccine manufacturer. The bottom line is that Ohioans should be able to obtain safe, effective vaccines for themselves and their families if they choose according to manufacturers’ guidelines once it is widely available.

Q: If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?

A: Not enough is known about how long natural immunity lasts for those that have recovered from the virus. Until we have a vaccine available and know more about natural immunity to COVID-19, the CDC will not comment on whether people who had COVID-19 should get a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will make recommendations to CDC on who should get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: Can other vaccines help prevent me from getting COVID-19?

A: Other vaccines, such as those for flu, measles, or other diseases, will not protect you from COVID-19. Only the vaccines designed specifically to protect you from COVID-19, once approved for use by the FDA, can prevent COVID-19. While a flu vaccine will not prevent you from getting COVID-19, it can prevent you from getting influenza (flu) at the same time as COVID-19. Because the flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading during this time, getting a flu vaccine will be more crucial than ever.

FCPH is asking that anyone with questions or comments to complete the survey at https://forms.gle/YvKmpsMPyvQS6gUR9.

25th local COVID-19 related death reported this week

Staff reports