Todd Greseth

Todd Greseth, with Zumbrota EMS, receives the COVID-19 vaccine. Greseth was one of many to receive the vaccination in Goodhue County’s first priority group. (Photo courtesy of Goodhue County Health and Human Services)

COVID-19 vaccines are being administered throughout Goodhue County! This is a moment for celebration and gratitude. This moment of hope also brings many questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

One of the important questions about the vaccines is, “Are they safe?” Having a safe and effective vaccine is the top priority. The requirements for COVID-19 vaccine are the same as all other vaccines.

With any vaccine, studies must confirm that the vaccine is safe and effective before it is approved for public use. This data is closely reviewed by several scientific groups at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and other groups look at available information about a vaccine and make informed decisions about the risks and benefits of using it.

COVID-19 vaccine rollout timeline and priority groups

COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out in phases. Hundreds of millions of people in the United States alone need to be vaccinated, so it will be a long process to make, distribute, and give that many doses of vaccine out. Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) and Goodhue County Health and Human Services (GCHHS) urges the public to have patience and continue to be mindful of the practices we can do to slow the spread of COVID-19, practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and stay home if you are sick.

Goodhue County Health and Human Services (GCHHS) is following the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) priority groups. This week GCHHS started to vaccinate our Phase 1A 1st priority group; Emergency Medical Services (EMS). We held vaccination clinics for our EMS throughout the county in Red Wing, Zumbrota, Kenyon and Cannon Falls. Kenyon Senior Living staff and residents are expected to receive their first doses of the vaccine Jan. 12, followed by the second dose Feb. 9. Other Phase 1a First Priority groups are being vaccinated by the hospital/clinic they work for; Long Term Care facilities by an appointed Pharmacy from the Federal Pharmacy Provider Program.

As of Jan. 7, 2021, 769 residents of Goodhue County have received 1 or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The goal for the first, limited doses of COVID-19 vaccine is to protect those who are exposed to COVID-19 every day because of what they do, who they care for, or where they live. In addition, high rates of severe disease in nursing home residents and other congregate settings where older adults live are being seen. With this in mind, the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine are being given to people working in health care settings and people who live and work in long-term care facilities. They do not have the option of remaining home and separating themselves from others. Other groups that will get the vaccine earlier than the general public include frontline essential workers, adults 65 years and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers.

COVID-19 vaccine scams

The GCHHS COVID-19 Hotline has received calls asking if community members can sign up for their vaccine or be put on a waiting list. It is important to note that, there is NOT a list Minnesotans need to get on to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Early on, people who are able to get vaccine first will be contacted by their employers or the long-term care facility where they live.

We have also heard of scams across the state where people are being called and told to provide credit card information to be put on this list. MDH and health care providers will not contact you and ask for personal information or credit card information in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a scam, do not provide personal information to these callers. Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and GCHHSS will provide updates when vaccine is available to more people and how they can get it.

FAQ about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine rollout

Each day, more and more information on the COVID-19 vaccines is being released. We all have many questions and some of those questions may not have answers currently. Here are some helpful resources to help answer questions you may have.

• For information on the COVID -19 vaccines go to: cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/index.html

• For more information and FAQ on the Minnesota Statewide vaccine rollout go to: health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vaccine.html

• To stay informed of local Goodhue County Vaccine information go to: co.goodhue.mn.us/COVID-19

• Goodhue County Health & Human Services COVID-19 Hotline: (651) 385-2000. Hotline is available Monday-Friday 8 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Immunity

Two doses are needed for the two COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. It is very important that someone gets both vaccine doses, the same product for each dose, and that the doses are given at the correct time apart.

After the second dose, it takes about two weeks for your body to build up immunity, so it’s about six weeks total from the first vaccine dose to when you should be fully protected. It is important to continue to wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, wash your hands, and follow other public health recommendations. Even after those six weeks, it is known that these vaccines are good at preventing people from getting sick, but there is not enough data yet to say whether someone who was vaccinated may still spread the disease to others if they get infected with COVID-19. At this time, it is also not known if this will be a vaccine that people need to get again, similar to getting a flu shot every year or needing a tetanus shot every 10 years.

Load comments