We understand that there is much information about the vaccine available right now. Tribes are announcing the arrival of the vaccine in Indian country and news stations are talking about a vaccine before Christmas. We want our patients to fully understand how the vaccine is arriving and when it will be available. Here are some of the questions we have been asked.
Is it true doses are arriving this week?
Yes it is but we have no idea how many. For example, The Cherokee Nation only received 975 doses today. There is a limited supply nationally. The government only purchased 100 million doses to start. The vaccine is a two part series taken 3 weeks apart.
Who will be getting the vaccine when it arrives?
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) prioritized who would be vaccinated. Health care workers will receive the vaccine first, followed by residents of long term care facilities, then non-health care essential workers and finally persons age 65 and older and those with conditions that place them at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Once these groups have been vaccinated, the vaccine will be made available to the general population. It is estimated this will happen in late spring.
Do I have to take both shots?
Yes, the vaccine does NOT work until both shots have been completed.
Will I be able to go without a mask once I have my shots?
No, you could still “get” the virus, not know it and spread it to someone who has not yet had the vaccine. It will take a while for everyone to receive the vaccine (perhaps as late as next summer). Remember, we wear our masks to protect others not ourselves.
If you have additional questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine, please email us as email@example.com.