The St. Charles County Department of Public Health received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the State of Missouri today and has begun implementing its distribution plan. The vaccine is provided at no cost to recipients through the federal government.
“With cases of COVID-19 continuing to spread in St. Charles County and around the globe, the Department of Public Health is extremely fortunate to have been selected as one of only a few local health departments in Missouri to receive this initial shipment of vaccine,” Department of Public Health Director Demetrius Cianci-Chapman says. “We have been preparing for this distribution since the early days of the pandemic and are ready to deliver the vaccine to protect members of our community.”
Who Can Receive the Vaccine?
With the supply of this initial shipment of vaccine limited, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and State of Missouri recommend that direct patient-facing healthcare workers and individuals who live or work in long-term care facilities receive it during what is termed Phase 1A. St. Charles County organizations with employees or residents in a Phase 1A category and that do not have access to the vaccine through another means should call the Department of Public Health’s Immunization Clinic at 636-949-1857 to make arrangements for the vaccination. Individual employees and long-term care residents should not call the department directly.
The Department of Public Health will share further information on its distribution process when additional vaccine becomes available.
Benefits of Vaccination
The Moderna product has received authorization from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and a recommendation from ACIP for vaccination of individuals ages 18 and older. The vaccine has undergone clinical trials and completed review by U.S. vaccine safety administrators to ensure its safety. These trials have shown that the vaccine will help:
- Prevent COVID-19 infection.
- Lessen the risk for severe complications and hospitalization if the person does become infected.
- Reduce further spread of the virus to others in the community.
The Moderna product is an mRNA vaccine, which is a new type of vaccine that does not contain a live or inactivated germ to protect the body. An mRNA vaccine enables cells to make a protein that remains on the surface of the virus, which then triggers the body’s immune response to make antibodies that protect against infection. Because it does not contain live virus, the vaccine cannot give a recipient COVID-19. For more information on this type of vaccine, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html.
Preparing for Your Vaccination
Individuals are asked to arrive promptly at their scheduled appointment time and follow prevention recommendations when interacting with vaccine administrators. Those being vaccinated will complete consent registration and receive information about the process before the vaccination. It is recommended that the individual remain at the location for at least 15 minutes following the vaccination, so staff can monitor for any adverse reactions.
Two doses of the vaccine, both injected in the upper arm, are necessary for maximum protection and should be issued four weeks apart. There have been reports of common side effects similar to those some experience with other vaccinations — including pain and/or swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, fatigue and/or headache. The presence of these common side effects is a sign the body is building its protection against the virus.
In most cases, these side effects disappear soon after the vaccine is given. However, to speed the process, recipients can apply a cool, wet washcloth to the injection site; exercise or move their arm to increase blood flow; and drink fluids. Vaccine recipients who have concerns about side effects or have side effects that last more than a few days should contact their medical provider or call the St. Charles County COVID-19 Information Hotline at 636-949-1899.
Distributing Vaccine in Phases
As demand for the COVID-19 vaccines is expected to exceed the supply in the initial period following authorization, the ACIP COVID-19 Vaccines Work Group developed a phased plan for allocating doses that the Department of Public Health is following. As production of the vaccine increases, the ACIP will recommend transition into additional phases. The categories are:
Recommended Allocation of Vaccine in Missouri
|Phase 1A||Phase 1B||Phase 1C||Phase 2|
|· All patient-facing healthcare personnel.
· Long-term care facility staff members and residents.
· Skilled nursing facility staff members and residents.
· Intermediate care facility staff members and residents.
|· First responders and frontline essential employees supporting critical infrastructure operations.
· Residential care facility residents.
· Assisted living facility residents.
· Individuals ages 75 and older.
|· Individuals ages 65-74.
· Individuals ages 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions.
· Additional essential employees.
|· All individuals ages 18 and older.|
|(Information as of Dec. 22, 2020)|
Continuing to Protect St. Charles County
The Department of Public Health appreciates the cooperation of St. Charles County residents and businesses in efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Following recommended precautions continues to help reduce the spread of this contagious illness.
“While the Moderna vaccine has shown 95 percent effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 during its clinical trial, we need to remember that this is just one part of a combination of tools available to stop the pandemic,” says Cianci-Chapman. “Even after being vaccinated, we all must continue to wear masks, social distance, limit contacts and stay home when sick.”
For additional information on St. Charles County’s efforts to reduce the spread of illness, visit sccmo.org/COVID. For questions about symptoms or testing, call the St. Charles County COVID-19 Information Hotline at 636-949-1899 or speak with a medical provider.