January 21, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine

As more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, many are hopeful that we can turn the tide on the pandemic in this country.  We spoke with Dr. Jonathan Pinsky,  manager of the Infectious Disease department at Edward Elmhurst Health for this segment of “Healthy Driven Minute” to get a better understanding of the vaccine.

“The vaccine is extremely safe and effective,” he said.

Who is eligible for the Vaccine?

For the Moderna vaccine, anyone 18 year old and older can receive it.  For the Pfizer vaccine, anyone 16 years old and older.

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out

The Illinois Department of Public Health‘s plan to roll out the vaccine comes in two larger phases, with the first phase broken down further into sub-phases.  We are in phase one at the moment with limited doses available.  As such, initial efforts are focusing on reaching critical populations.

  • Phase 1A:
    • Healthcare Personnel
    • long-term care facility residents and staff (approx. 360,000 statewide)
  • Phase 1B:
    • Persons aged 65 or older
    • Frontline essential workers
      • First responders
      • Law enforcement officers
      • Grocery Store Workers
      • Food and agriculture workers
      • Postal Service workers
      • Teachers & support staff
    • Homeless and sheltered population
    • Inmates
  • Phase 1C:
    • People ages 16 to 59 with high-risk medical conditions
    • Other essential workers
      • Transportation and logistics
      • Water & wastewater
      • Food Service
      • Finance
      • Information Technology & Communications
      • Media
      • Public Safety & Public Health
  • Phase 2:  The remaining population and anyone included in phase 1 that had not yet received the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Continued Precautions

“The vaccine is an additional mitigation effort,” said Pinsky.  “It’s not a substitute for other mitigation efforts.”  He explains that it’s important to continue taking the following precautions as the vaccinations continue to become more widely available:

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Maintain six feet of distance from others whenever possible
  • Wear masks when in public places or around others not in your household

Pinsky said we need “to see the effect of the vaccine on the number of COVID.  When they cases go down in the community, then and only then can we back down on some of the other mitigation efforts.”

The Center for Disease Control offers more in-depth information on the COVID-19 vaccine, including possible side effects.

For more health news, click here.

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