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COVID-19 Vaccinations Have Begun

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The Hernando County Health Department began its Moderna COVID-19 vaccination rollout  on January 4, 2021.   The Health Department scheduled 100 appointments for the first dose.  Patients will receive the second dose in 28 days, and will be given an appointment card with a date to return.  Robin Napier, Health Department Administrator emphasized the importance of the second dose.  “One dose is good, two doses are much, much better.” 

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Currently the vaccine is being offered to residents 65 and older and First Responders.  According to Danielle Taylor, Senior Community Health Nursing Director, the department is putting together a plan by the end of the week to vaccinate healthcare workers. 

The county received a “100-day supply,” explained Robin Napier, Health Department Administrator.   The state keeps track of doses given, and will replenish the county’s supply as the stock depletes.  Because the Health Department administers vaccinations during their usual operations, a freezer capable of storing the Moderna vaccine was already available, and the county did not need to purchase an additional freezer.

On December 30, 2020, a press release advised the community that the vaccine is currently available to residents over age 65, and that registration was required via telephone.  The response overwhelmed the Health Department’s phone systems, and the department is still returning calls to those who have left messages for registration. 

Napier described the response as “amazing,” and is very encouraged by the number of residents signing up for the vaccine. 

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Information will be released on the Health Department’s website and through social media as future registration dates are announced.  Napier requests patience from the community while the county and Health department work out the obstacles to ensure the vaccine is available for everyone who wants it.

Residents are not required to obtain a referral from their primary care provider, however, are encouraged to do so.  An overall health screening is a part of the informed consent form which each recipient signs before receiving the vaccine. 

Most common side effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are:  

In the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

Who should not get vaccinated

  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine,  you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get another dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.*
  • An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).
  • This includes allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate. Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

 

According to the Health Department’s Facebook page, Registration closed the next day with all available doses accounted for.  Going forward, residents are encouraged to monitor the department’s website and Twitter for future registration instructions.  The Health Department expects to employ eventbrite.com, an event planning website to streamline the process of residents registering for appointments.

Two vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer), have not been approved or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but have been authorized for use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization.  It is unclear whether the Health Department will be offering the Pfizer vaccine in the future. 

The Moderna vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 years and older, requiring two doses at 28 days apart. The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 years and older, requiring two doses at 21 days apart.  Neither of these vaccines contain eggs, preservatives or Latex.  

 

This story is still developing, and updated frequently. 

 

Follow announcements from the Hernando County Health Department on their website: http://hernando.floridahealth.gov/ and Twitter at:  twitter.com/HealthyHernando   The phone number for the Health Department is:  352-540-6800.

CDC Infomation on the Moderna Vaccine:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Moderna.html

 

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