By Nisa Talavera
Santa Cruz County is currently in vaccine Phase 1B. The Santa Cruz County Health Department is working with Mariposa Community Health Center to vaccinate law enforcement agencies and healthcare workers that were not vaccinated under Phase 1A. As Phase 1B is completed, the next tier of 1B, adults age 75 and over will begin to receive the vaccine for COVID 19.
The following information is from the Santa Cruz County Government Website:
As part of its continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Health is working diligently to prepare for the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines in Santa Cruz County.
In coordination with the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, our planning efforts include involvement from hospital and healthcare systems, emergency response agencies, community-based organizations, and others. The role of different partners in vaccine distribution will depend on vaccine supply and the stage of the vaccine distribution plan.
CDC guidance in the COVID-19 Vaccine Interim Playbook describes a phased approach to distribution. Because there is likely to be limited supply when vaccine first becomes available, CDC will direct what groups are prioritized based on their risk levels. The first phase of vaccine distribution will include healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents, with more details to come from CDC once a vaccine has been approved for distribution.
Individuals that qualify for vaccination under this phase will be vaccinated based on the risk of exposure. More information about vaccine eligibility and the vaccine distribution process for populations prioritized in Phases 1B and 1C will be shared as soon as it becomes available.
Vaccine doses available are currently limited and state allocations are expected to be updated weekly, with a federal reserve available to ensure a second dose of the same vaccine is available 28 days after the initial dose.
Phase 1B Essential Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Request Form
This form is intended for employers of Phase 1B essential workers* to attest that they meet the prioritization criteria and request a COVID-19 vaccine allocation for their workforce. In order to be considered for a vaccine allocation during Phase 1B when vaccine is available, employers are encouraged to share their vaccination plans including how many essential employees require vaccination.
Phase 1B will include essential workers defined in VAPAC recommended guidance (based on CISA and EO 2020-12 definitions), and groups will be sub-prioritized while vaccine supplies are limited to include risk of exposure and mission critical positions.
Please note that the sub-prioritization process will be based on vaccine availability, local allocation and risk assessment of each group. It is recommended that employers consider their continuity of operations plans while completing this form.
For more information regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine visit the Arizona Department of Health Services
Frequently Asked Questions about the vaccine
Who will be eligible to get the vaccine?
Eventually, everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. However, when the vaccine is first available there will be limited supply.
Who will get the vaccine first?
On Dec. 1st, the CDC Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to approve the recommendation of healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents as priority groups to receive initial doses of vaccine once it is approved by the FDA.
Per ACIP, health care workers are paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials (includes EMS).
Why have these groups been chosen first to receive vaccine?
Health-care personnel are a top priority because of their exposure to the virus and their critical role of keeping emergency services, hospitals, health clinics and other critical health services functioning. Residents and staff of long-term-care facilities were prioritized because they account for nearly 40 percent of deaths nationwide from COVID-19.
What other groups will be prioritized to receive vaccine in early stages.
Why can’t all of the vaccine be shipped at the same time?
There will be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, but supply will continually increase in the weeks and months that follow. The timeline for when vaccine is available is dependent on the results of the clinical trials that are currently underway among tens of thousands of voluntary participants. SCCHD is planning for a variety of possible timelines for a phased vaccination process as vaccine candidates apply for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and begin the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review process to ensure they are safe and effective before distributing them. Moderna’s EUA review will take place on Dec. 17th.
How can we trust the vaccine will be safe when its production and distribution are being expedited?
Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines must go through a rigorous and multi-step testing and approval process before they can be used. Throughout vaccine development and distribution, there are numerous safety measures. These include:
- The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes and monitors all clinical trials.
- To get an Emergency Use Authorization, developers of a vaccine must provide a large amount of data on its safety and effectiveness to meet the rigorous standards set by the FDA
- Independent advisory committees provide oversight and monitor for safety during vaccine development and testing.
- Clinical trials for a vaccine continue after EUA is granted until enough data is available to grant full approval
After a vaccine is authorized for use, multiple safety monitoring systems are in place to watch for possible adverse events. If an unexpected serious adverse event is detected, experts work as quickly as possible to determine whether it is a true safety concern.
What side effects could there be from the vaccine?
According to clinical trial data reviewed by the FDA, the most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose, so it is important for vaccination providers and recipients to expect that there may be some side effects after either dose, but even more so after the second dose.
Will I need more than one dose of vaccine?
Yes. The two leading vaccine candidates (Pfizer and Moderna) will require two doses given 3 to 4 weeks apart to provide maximum protection. Your vaccine provider will let you know if you need an additional dose and help provide a way to remind you to return in the right amount of time so you can receive your second dose.
If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, do I still have to take other precautions?
Yes, even if you get vaccinated, we recommend you continue with the other prevention measures you’ve been doing, such as washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and limiting gatherings.
How much will it cost to be vaccinated?
There will be no cost to get the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of insurance status. In early December,Gov. Ducey issued an Executive Order that ensures Arizonans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge for as long as the state’s public health emergency declaration is in effect.
Will a vaccine end the pandemic?
No, a vaccine will not end the pandemic by itself. A safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 will be a major breakthrough in preventing COVID-19 infections but needs to be used in combination with other prevention measures until enough people have immunity (either from a vaccine or a past infection). Even after a vaccine is available, it will be necessary to continue with the core COVID-19 safety precautions including limiting activities outside the home, physical distancing, and mask wearing for the foreseeable future as we learn more about how long the protection lasts and as more people become protected through vaccination over time.
For more information from the Santa Cruz County website about COVID 19 and the COVID 19 vaccine click here.