The Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout in NC
We are in phase 1a of the Covid-19 Vaccine rollout in North Carolina. Do you know who to contact? Do you know where you are in line for eligibility? Who has the right information? Does my doctor know? Why or why not? Where will I get it? When? There are so many questions. Here is some quick info you might be looking for.
Where to Get Tested
While the vaccine is rolling out, be sure to get tested before any travel and upon your return. If you need Covid Testing, because you have symptoms or because you must travel, Wake County seems to offer the easiest way to do that https://covid19.wakegov.com/testing/ You don't need to be a resident of the county to go there. No ID needed.
You can also get tested in a more private setting from Avance Care, if you make an appointment.
Remember that you need not have symptoms to be able to spread the virus.
NC Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Flyer and Sign
Also, there is another flyer from NC DHHS https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/vaccines/NCDHHS-Vaccines-Flyer.pdf There is a lot of detail and the print is very tiny so it's not a good "sign" type of flyer. It's better to sit down and read it. (Yes, you should do that.)
But I made a simple JPG picture you can print as one page and post in public places to alert people to go look at the website or seek more information from reputable sources, now that the vaccine is available, finally. ------>>>
You may want to combine that sign with the PDF flyer mentioned above so people can stop and read the phases. The one thing we are all doing, is we shop, and buy gas, so good places are stores and gas stations.
Vaccine Rollout Phases
Scroll down this page for a description of the phases: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines
The "easy" to remember link is: yourspotyourshot.nc.gov
Governor Cooper Coronavirus Briefing Videos
These can be found on UNC TV either by using "bunny ear" antennas for your TV or via cable TV or via Youtube. They usually last a bit less than an hour. This is the most recent one. Do listen to them because although they are a bit of a snooze, they also offer information not found elsewhere.
Your County Health Department
Contact your doctor first, then your local health department if you believe you are eligible for a phase of the rollout. You may or may not be contacted directly. Don't delay. It takes two doses for the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine to be effective and even after you got both doses, it still takes two more weeks after that. The sooner the better.
Your doctor probably won't be the one giving you the vaccine for the simple reason that the refrigeration requirements of the vaccine are extreme. A doctor's office doesn't have such equipment.
Durham and Wake County Contacts
Durham Co Health Department: https://www.dcopublichealth.org/about-us/contact-us
Durham Covid-19 Hotline: (available 8:30am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday): (919) 635-8150 Email contact for Durham: DCoCOVIDvaccines@dconc.gov
I get nervous when I see a .com for a government agency however Wake County does indeed have wakegov.com as its website. To verify this, see: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/wake-county-division-human-services
Wake County Health department Covid section: https://covid19.wakegov.com/
They prefer email communication: https://covid19.wakegov.com/contact/
Keep Up the Vigilance
Do not stop using all the protective methods of washing hands, being extra vigilant, wearing a mask, and distancing until the emergency is over. Don't fall for a false sense of security and put yourself and your loved ones at risk.
Scams to Watch Out For
The Covid-19 Vaccine is FREE completely free!
Also part of being vigilant is, watch out for scams. These vaccines have been paid for by our government. Nobody should be asking you for out of pocket payments, or offering to help you skip ahead. If someone you trust (such as Walgreens or CVS) has vaccine available that is unclaimed (due to no shows) that's probably valid, but nobody should be claiming they can get you a vaccine while circumventing the health department phases.
In some states there has been a scandal of wasted vials where too much was taken out of refrigeration and people didn't qualify in that phase. In such a case the right thing is probably to vaccinate out of order, rather than lose vaccine doses. In other states, the problem has been elitism where a health "agency" deliberately diverted doses of the vaccine intended for the elderly to the young who are rich and can pay well for them. In that case, it would be reasonable to make it a crime to charge money for the vaccine. Since the US government paid for the vaccine's creation, and the doses themselves already.
After Vaccine Follow Up
OK you got your vaccine, now what? First, keep up your vigilance until the end of the covid-19 emergency, especially hand washing. Of course.
Next... Do you have a smartphone? Sign up for Vsafe https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.html which will remind you to get your second dose, and track how you feel as the vaccine takes effect. This will help everyone have a safer experience with the covid-19 vaccines.
No smart phone? Or don't want to text message? OK, you can still report any adverse events using the same old VAERS system that vaccines have always used to track adverse events. https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html Yes, you can report an adverse event using this, even as a patient, they want to hear it. Be sure to get medical help first! Report later, or ask the ER or doctor to report it.
However, I want to emphasize that I talked to people in my doctor's office who had the first shot already. They include many people who are considered "elderly" as well as "health care" workers. One of them has Celiac disease as well. The feeling at my doctor's office is that the first shot (I think Moderna was mentioned but I don't know whether they all took the same one), was less bothersome than taking the flu shot. No headache, not even a sore arm, they said. That's not to say that it's impossible, because serious reactions do occur, it's just that, this is a demonstration that such reactions are rare. Look into reactions that have occurred, but don't let it unduly scare you. It's rare.
💞 This too shall pass and we will meet again when it's over. 💞
News from Chicago: Some health care workers got their SECOND dose today (Jan 5th)! https://abc7chicago.com/covid-19-chicago-2nd-dose-vaccine-pfizer-illinois/9370551/
The official FAQ -- 'Do I need to sign up?': https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines/frequently-asked-questions#do-i-need-to-sign-up-to-get-vaccinated
A lot of information is still deeply hidden in official documents so you're still better off calling hotlines and your doctor's office every few days for updates, until a clear path forward (when? where? what registration?) is communicated to the public. But if you want to, the documents can be found on the websites https://immunize.nc.gov/ and https://immunize.nc.gov/providers/covid-19training.htm
PDF Interim Provider Guidance in NC for Vaccinating in Phase 1a and 1b: https://web.archive.org/web/20210106134842/https://immunize.nc.gov/providers/ncip/training/Interim%20Provider%20Guidance%20for%20Vaccinating%20North%20Carolinians_FINAL.pdf
This document provides, in great detail the directions given from the state health department to health care providers who will do the actual vaccinating. In short it says there is a database where everyone is registered to provide proof of vaccination and proof of employment or eligibility, this database use is initiated by a health care provider or employer, then, by email, registration is completed by the person to be vaccinated. Organizations with vaccine (with the proper refrigeration) then plan out the vaccination process for those eligible. It was published on Jan 5. It seems that they intend to use this database for all the phases. The following is more detail on the database itself. You will probably have to use this when you get your shot.
Powerpoint training for how to use the Covid Vaccine Management System (database): https://immunize.nc.gov/providers/ncip/training/CVMS%20Recipient%20Portal%20User%20Guide%20(1).pptx
Employee Benefits - Covid-19
Dollar General - not mandatory to be vaccinated ; Time Off, not sure if you can divide it into two parts https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-dollar-general/dollar-general-plans-to-pay-employees-to-get-covid-19-vaccination-idUSKBN29I25G?il=0
Providence (hospital system) - https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/providence-offering-vaccine-benefits-to-employees.html Not mandatory; Up to two days off for side effects, vaccines will be scheduled during work hours, if that's not possible, one hour of work time will be paid for the inconvenience in scheduling.
+++ more to be added
I'd suggest never making the vaccine mandatory for business. I don't see the point in protecting against the teeny risk of employee to customer transmission. I could go into that but it would sound like advice and I'm not an attorney. I'll just point to the 95% effectiveness of the vaccine. But for now you couldn't anyway: https://hrexecutive.com/3-strategies-for-right-now-to-encourage-employees-to-get-covid-vaccines/
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How do mRNA Vaccines Work?
Here is a very nice and friendly explanation of what an mRNA vaccine is and how it works, why it can't "infect" you and how come it was created so quickly, etc.