High-risk individuals and front line workers are the first in line to receive the COVID vaccine.
Dr. G’s Urgent Care Clinics continues to be here for you and your family and stands by their goal to keep their patients out of the emergency room unless it is absolutely necessary.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available in Florida, and it’s important that we all do our part to keep the Sunshine State safe. Getting vaccinated protects you and your community. Here in Florida, the vaccine rollout has begun, and it’s important to stay up to date with vaccination news and announcements.
The Center for Disease Control urges all Americans to get vaccinated as soon as they can. Like other states, Florida has limited doses and high demand, so vaccines are being administered in phases. On December 23rd, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-315, which outlines that providers currently may only administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the following groups:
- Long-term care facility residents and staff.
- Persons 65 years of age and older.
- Health care personnel with direct patient contact.
- Persons deemed to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers.
Unfortunately, the supply of COVID-19 vaccines that the state has received is far from meeting the demand. The State of Florida only received 179,400 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Then on December 30th, 2020, Florida received 367,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, following an Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That’s just over 500,000 vaccines for the roughly 21 million people living in the state of Florida. But, vaccine production continues, and it is anticipated that additional supplies will be coming soon.
Keep Checking Back
Florida has many sites that are providing COVID-19 vaccines throughout its 67 counties. If you’re in the Palm Beach or Broward Counties, you can find locations and make an appointment for the vaccine through the Florida Department of Health’s vaccine locator site.
This list will be updated as more sites and vaccines become available.
However, because resources are limited, vaccine availability and appointments will vary from day to day and week to week. This phase of the vaccination roll-out puts the most vulnerable first. The state is prioritizing persons 65 years of age and older and health care personnel with direct patient contact and residents and staff of long term care facilities. The Florida Department of Health stresses that some locations will only serve very specific populations, such as frontline health care workers. (1)
In the meantime, keep wearing your mask, practice social distancing, and get tested for COVID. Dr. G’s Urgent Care has been providing COVID swab testing and antibody testing to South Florida since the very beginning of the pandemic, and has tested over 5,000 patients in the area. If you need a test and results fast, contact Dr. G now.
Clinical trials proved that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. When supplies allow, this vaccine will be administered to anyone over the age of 16 (with parental consent for those 16 and 17). The only reason that you should not get vaccinated is if you are currently ill with COVID-19. You’ll risk infecting others.
If you think you may have COVID-19, Dr. G’s Urgent Care has been treating patients with COVID since the start of the pandemic. Call ahead, so that you can be safely admitted to one of our facilities, tested, and treated. We have 3 convenient locations in Coral Springs, Delray Beach and Lake Worth.
Dr. G’s Urgent Care Centers were able to keep most of our patients out of the hospital with aggressive treatment and close follow-up, offering both in-facility treatment and testing, as well as video visits and pharmacy delivery for medications.
Once you’ve recovered, the CDC recommends that you still become vaccinated. Because this is a new virus, scientists still don’t know whether it can strike the same person twice.
Keep in mind that during this stage of vaccinations in Florida, only long-term care facility residents and staff, those 65 years of age and older, and health care personnel are eligible for vaccinations. Priority is given to the most vulnerable.
Are You High Risk?
The governor’s executive order also specified persons deemed to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers. Those with high-risk medical conditions may, or may soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
High-risk medical conditions outlined by the CDC include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
It’s important to know that as the vaccine becomes more widely available, these recommendations will expand to include those with additional priority conditions.(2)
To find out if you’re at risk, contact your primary care physician. Or, stop by Dr. G’s Urgent Care to get a professional medical opinion about your eligibility for the COVID vaccine. Dr. G’s Urgent Care Clinics offer video consultations, so that you can meet with a doctor without leaving the safety of your home.
There are some side effects reported after receiving the COVID vaccine. But as the FDA insists, and constant news headlines have proven, these side effects pale in comparison to the severity and often fatal results of the disease itself. The side effects typically only lasted several days. Those who have contracted COVID often suffer for months – if they survive.
Some of the most common side effects from the Moderna Vaccine were:
- Pain at the injection site
- Muscle and joint pain, chills,
- Swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection,
- Nausea and vomiting
The FDA noted that more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose. So while you can expect that there may be some side effects after either dose, your side effects may be more pronounced after the second dose.
Similar to the Pfizer-made COVID vaccine, the Moderna vaccine was proven 94.1% effective in preventing COVID-19. Among 28,709 clinical trial participants, only 11 cases of COVID-19 occured in the vaccinated group, compared to 185 in the placebo group, 30 of which were classified as severe cases. (2)
You may also be relieved to know that celebrities such as Andrew Lloyd Weber, Martha Stewart, Joan Collins, Willie Nelson, Steve Martin, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tony Bennett have all safely and enthusiastically received the vaccine as individuals over the age of 65!
How Else Can I Help Fight COVID?
The CDC encourages Americans to consider participating in COVID-19 clinical studies. By participating in a study, you’re helping gather information that can help us fight COVID, and help save lives.
Everyone is eligible to participate. After all, we wouldn’t have the COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, if it weren’t for those brave enough to participate in research trials.
For example, if you’ve never had COVID-19, you can join a clinical trial for these vaccines or for other ways to prevent the disease. If all goes well, you just may end up vaccinated, and you’ll have done your part for science and for humanity. If you’ve had COVID in the past, and have recovered, congratulations. You can donate plasma or blood for research to help others recover. If you have COVID-19 now, consider joining a clinical trial.
Health is wealth. The COVID vaccine is available at no cost for healthcare workers or those working or living in long-term care facilities. There may be a fee or co-pay for administering the injection. However, most insurance covers these costs. If you’re in the 65-and-up bracket that is currently eligible for the COVID vaccine, you’re in luck. Medicare will take care of any cost related to your vaccine.(3)
You’re in luck, snowbird. The governor has made it clear that the vaccine is to be made available to all residents of the Sunshine State.
Recent data suggests that symptomatic pregnant patients with COVID-19 are at increased risk of more severe illness compared with nonpregnant peers. COVID-19 can risk your life, and your baby’s life. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers that because the COVID vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, it’s not capable of causing any genetic changes, ie. birth defects. But they also emphasize that pregnant or lactating women should assess their risk of COVID, and make an informed decision.(4)
The CDC recommends vaccination regardless of a history of COVID illness. Unfortunately, there is not currently enough information to say whether getting COVID-19 protects you from getting it again. More studies are needed. To learn how you can join a study and help others, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
- COVID-19 Vaccines in Florida. Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Outbreak. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/covid-19-vaccines-in-florida/
- Commissioner O of the. FDA Takes Additional Action in Fight Against COVID-19 By Issuing Emergency Use Authorization for Second COVID-19 Vaccine. FDA. Published December 21, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-additional-action-fight-against-covid-19-issuing-emergency-use-authorization-second-covid
- Soergel A. The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Florida. Florida. Published January 13, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://states.aarp.org/florida/covid-19-vaccine-distribution
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19. www.acog.org. Published December 21, 2020. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/12/vaccinating-pregnant-and-lactating-patients-against-covid-19