Finally, some concrete information about how to get COVID vaccine.
PLEASE be patient – I have only 2 staff members and limited vaccine supply, although I can request more. We will get everyone vaccinated.
I am vaccinating healthcare providers this week and next. When San Diego County changes to Phase 1B (likely over the next couple of weeks) my first priority is to my patients. After they are vaccinated, I will vaccinate the public at large. I will send an email Newsletter and post on the blog each time we enter a new phase of vaccination.
Since this is a new process, things are likely to change over time, but the current plans are as follows:
I have Moderna vaccine. I do not have Pfizer vaccine because I do not have the equipment to store it at ultra-cold temperatures.
The vaccine is free for everyone, compliments of the US Government.
Vaccines will be administered on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 2:30 to 5 pm in the office BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.
This vaccine is a little difficult logistically because you must use all doses within 6 hours of opening the vial. That means we need to schedule people in groups of 10 and if someone misses their appointment, we’ll have extra doses which might go to waste.
To prevent wasting any doses, I have established a “Quick Call” list of high risk patients who are willing to come to the office on short notice (be here within 30 min). If you’d like to be added to that list, please email us Staff@PrivateMDAmy.com.
I recommend the COVID vaccine for the vast majority of patients because the benefits are huge, and risks are small. I have to admit, I was quite a skeptic in the beginning. I didn’t think anyone could do good science in that short a time frame. And I am generally not someone who jumps in when new medications come out. But this circumstance is different.
The studies were very large (Moderna 30K and Pfizer 43K) and well designed. I wish they had more people of color (approx 20%)
Both vaccines are 94% effective in preventing COVID infection
There were no deaths related to the vaccines.
Mild side effects are common – including injection site pain, redness or swelling. Moderate side effects occur in about 20% of people including fever, headache, fatigue, body aches and chills, most resolve within 48 hours. If you had more symptoms after the first shot, you’re more likely to have them after the 2nd shot as well.
Since side effects are not uncommon, schedule your vaccine on a day you could be uncomfortable or “out of commission” for 48 hours if needed.
What about long-term side effects? We just don’t know. There has not been enough time since giving the vaccines to see what happens. The trials are still ongoing, and they are collecting that data, but it takes at least 2 years. Other vaccines have a very good track record for serious long time side effects, so I’ve decided to be comfortable with the uncertainty.
Pfizer vs Moderna – either is good, similar efficacy, similar side effects. The differences between them have more to do with logistics – ultra-cold storage for Pfizer, 3-week interval for Pfizer and 4-week interval for Moderna.
Speaking of logistics – a HUGE problem is that once we open the vial, we must use all doses in the vial (10 for Moderna and 5 for Pfizer) WITHIN 6 HOURS! That means you cannot just get it because you’re in the neighborhood. We need to schedule people in groups of 10. If someone doesn’t show, then we have a potentially wasted dose. Most of the cases in the news of people getting vaccine ahead of high-risk people are because it’s a potentially wasted dose. IT’S MUCH BETTER THAT IT IS GIVEN TO A PATIENT THAN THROWN DOWN THE DRAIN!
To prevent wasting any doses, I have established a “Quick Call” list of high risk patients who are willing to come to the office on short notice (within 30 min). If you’d like to be added to that list, please email us Staff@PrivateMDAmy.com.
No fetal cells are used in the manufacture or Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccines in the pipeline – Janssen Pharmaceuticals in partnership with Johnson & Johnson have a vaccine that is very promising, but it’s too early to tell if it actually works. It requires only 1 shot (rather than 2) and is kept at typical refrigerated temperatures so should be easier from a logistics standpoint.