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COVID-19 Vaccination Process

Prohealth Medical Group and its clinics are working with your local Public Health Department to help provide the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available by the Health Department under their guidelines and instructions. If you are in the appropriate group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please fill out our registration form. We would then contact you and/or your group to schedule you for vaccination. Please bring photo ID and your insurance card/information with you for vaccination.

Contact us at any of our ProHealth Medical Centers in Southern California if you would like any more information on receiving this important vaccination. Below, we will address some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.


What Is an EUA and How Is It Different from FDA Approval?

An EUA is an Emergency Use Authorization granted to certain drugs and other treatments for use in an emergency situation, such as a global pandemic. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will issue an EUA to prioritize the release of urgently needed drugs and vaccines when timing is important and there are no other alternatives available. An EUA is different than standard FDA approval because it requires less testing and data in order to obtain an EUA. It only takes a matter of weeks to approve a vaccine for EUA use, rather than taking weeks or months as it does for standard FDA approval. An EUA is only a temporary approval that remains in place until the emergency declaration ends. Treatments that have temporary approval under EUA may apply for standard FDA approval when they have obtained enough data. Remdesivir is an example of a drug to treat COVID-19 that recently went through this process and now has FDA approval.


What Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Review and Approval Process Look Like?

Even if it is issuing approval for a treatment on only a limited, emergency use basis, drugs and vaccines that are approved by the FDA must first meet a rigorous set of safety and effectiveness standards. It is the duty of the FDA to establish and maintain a strict protocol to make sure that medical treatments do what they are supposed to do without harming the patient. To accomplish this, the FDA appoints boards of experts to review the drug or vaccine data at various checkpoints throughout the process.[1] If something is found to be amiss, the FDA has the power to stop the approval process and require additional studies of the drug or vaccine. Once the proposed treatment is shown to have met its clearly defined safety and effectiveness benchmarks, they can grant it EUA to provide timely access to critically-needed medical interventions. The FDA will not grant an EUA until at least half of all vaccine study participants have been tracked for at least two months.


What Is an mRNA Vaccine?

An mRNA vaccine is a new type of vaccine that contains messenger RNA to help train the body’s immune system to protect against infection from harmful viruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19.[2] Patients who have been effectively immunized against a virus will produce antibodies upon contact with it. mRNA vaccines are held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as other types of vaccines in the U.S. and cannot give you COVID-19 or affect or interact with your DNA.


Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe and Effective?

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe and Effective? The FDA has found the COVID-19 vaccine to be very safe and highly effective for immunizing patients against infection from COVID-19 during this emergency global pandemic. Similar agencies in other countries, including health administrations in Canada and the United Kingdom have arrived at similar results in their evaluation of the vaccine.


What Are the Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Like any other vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine may have some small risk of side effects. The FDA will only approve a vaccine for use if its possible side effects are less serious than the symptoms of the disease itself.

Slight Risk of Side Effects from COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Pain at injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Possible risk of allergic reaction

Who Will Have Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine First?

The COVID-19 vaccine is undergoing a phased roll out to help ensure that the most vulnerable and high-risk populations have access to it first. State and federal requirements dictate that the COVID-19 vaccine will first be made available to certain high-risk health care workers as well as patients and residents in long-term care facilities. As the rollout proceeds, future phases of vaccination will include people in the workforce that are determined to have the highest risk of exposure, based on role and work location. Public health authorities indicate that it will be made available to the broader population over time and as vaccine supply increases.


Will Caregivers Be Required to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine, When Eligible?

No. There is currently no requirement for anyone to be vaccinated for COVID-19. This may change, but, for the moment, government and health officials are leaving vaccination to the best judgment of American citizens. That being said, logic and compassion both dictate that every caregiver should be immunized to help halt the spread of this highly contagious, deadly disease. Caregivers play a special role in ending the pandemic. Only with a fully vaccinated workforce will we be able to change the ever-escalating trajectory of COVID-19. Like masks, good hygiene and other preventive measures, the vaccine will limit the spread of the virus by helping to protect you and those around you.


How Will I Know When I’m Eligible to Get the Vaccine?

As the phased rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine continues, we are optimistic that all caregivers will soon have access to it. We urge patience, however, as we determine who will most benefit from the limited supplies that are currently available. Please fill out our registration form to begin your vaccination process with ProHealth Medical Centers in Southern California today. Contact us to learn more.


What Are the Benefits of Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine, When Available?

The COVID-19 vaccine is just like any other vaccine in that it is designed to protect you from infection by the virus. Vaccination is the first step in ending the global coronavirus pandemic and potentially eradicating the disease forever. We know from other diseases and their vaccines that we can slow or stop the spread of disease when roughly 60% to 80% of a population gets vaccinated. A vaccine can limit the spread of the disease by helping to protect you and those around you.


How Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Work?

Vaccines condition your immune system to produce antibodies upon contact with a specific virus or family of viruses, like the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are your body’s best defense against infection. Individuals who have been vaccinated will develop a level of immunity to a disease. A COVID-19 vaccine may be like a flu shot in that you may need to get it annually or in more than one dose to maintain protection. We hope to know more about the COVID-19 vaccine soon.


Do I Still Have to Wear a Mask If I’ve Gotten the Vaccine?

Yes, we recommend that all caregivers (and others who have prolonged contact with people in vulnerable populations) to remain vigilant in their efforts to impede the spread of COVID-19. Even if they have been vaccinated, frontline workers and other essential personnel should continue to wear masks and other PPE until the spread of the virus has been declared under control.


How Can I Stay Informed on COVID-19 Updates in Southern California?

Stay informed by checking the ProHealth Medical Group website regularly. We encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have. If you are in the appropriate group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please fill out the attached registration form.

References

  1. Kaur, S. P., & Gupta, V. (2020). COVID-19 Vaccine: A comprehensive status report. Virus Research, 288, 198114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virusres.2020.198114
  2. Walsh, E. E., Frenck, R. W., Falsey, A. R., Kitchin, N., Absalon, J., Gurtman, A., Lockhart, S., Neuzil, K., Mulligan, M. J., Bailey, R., Swanson, K. A., Li, P., Koury, K., Kalina, W., Cooper, D., Fontes-Garfias, C., Shi, P.-Y., Türeci, Ö., Tompkins, K. R., … Gruber, W. C. (2020). Safety and Immunogenicity of Two RNA-Based Covid-19 Vaccine Candidates. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(25), 2439–2450. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa2027906
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