What Clinicians Want You to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

By: Patricia Hudak, RN and Chelsea Cassidy, LCSW

The COVID-19 vaccine has landed in the United States and has been granted approval for emergency use. Many want to know what to expect in the next coming days, weeks and months. But our biggest question is… How safe is it?

What does emergency use mean?

Hearing this can often create a sense of fear or doubt that the vaccine was created too quickly and could cause more harm than protection. Our Pfizer source reports that the reason this vaccine could be developed at a high speed was due to government funding and stimulation that other projects would be outsourced to competitors. If any companies involved in the agreement were to take the lead on the development of the vaccine, then those projects that were outsourced would return to Pfizer. This puts the human condition before corporate success.

Emergency use does not mandate that we all receive the vaccine. This allows it to remain a choice.  However, what is in the best interest of our fellow man? As Dr. G. Mehfoud pointed out so clearly, “What other choice do we have to stop the spread of the virus? This is the best option to stop COVID-19.“  When the opportunity is available for him, he will proudly and courageously roll up his sleeve and receive his inoculation.

The trail participants included 40,000 people and 60 days’ worth of data. This may make you feel uneasy or leery with limited data, however; this is also an exciting time to part of history.

What to expect when your opportunity arises:

The Virginia Department of Health reports that clinicians will be notified by your agency when you can register to receive the vaccine through VAMS (Vaccine Administration Management System).

Your agency will have already provided your credentials, so you only need to bring your photo ID.

After administration, you will receive a flyer to register for VSAFE. This is an application or online website that will monitor your side effects. After the first dose, minimal if any side effects have been reported up to this time.

You will record your side effects daily for seven days on VSAFE, weekly thereafter for six weeks. It will reset itself after you receive the second dose, which is between 21-28 days after the first dose.

Recipients will continue to be monitored by VSAFE at 3, 6 and 12 months.

Higher risk of side effects has been reports after the second dose. Those with side effects have experienced fever, malaise and arthralgia. It is recommended stagger administration for staffing, if possible and perhaps taking off the following day after receiving second dose.

The three main points the CDC is monitoring after an individual has received the vaccine are if you had to miss work, unable to complete normal activities (ADLs) and if you required medical attention post vaccine.

The vaccine is free of charge. The timeline for how long it is effective is unknown – Months? Years? Indefinitely? Many of these answers remain unknown and time will be the revealer.

Many people wonder if after inoculated, do they need to continue to wear a mask? The answer is yes.  You are still able to spread the virus after being inoculated and will have to follow quarantine guidelines if you are exposed.

Because we are in an emergency phase, it warrants noting that things will be ever-changing. Please continue to give grace to yourself and those you encounter as we are experiencing this vaccine together for the first time. Let’s focus on what we can do towards healing and creating a healthier future.

Personal benefits to receiving the vaccine:

While there may be some concern surrounding receiving the newly released COVID-19 vaccine, routine process and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of anyone who receives it. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can help combat certain aspects of your life that COVID-19 has affected/will affect.

  • Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can help prevent an illness that could lead to future health complications or loss of workdays due to an illness.
  • Protecting your loved ones is important now, more than ever. Receiving the vaccine can help relieve some of stress of contracting the virus from/giving the virus to your loved ones.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic. As more and more people receive the vaccine, we will be one step closer to normalcy.