Romano Law Nurse Corner COVID-19 #44
Vaccination UPDATE from the Front Lines
As we reported last week, vaccine distribution along with our mitigation efforts of masks and limited social contact is what we need to work our way back from this pandemic and yes, we are working our way back!
VACCINATION SIGN UP - GENERALLY
So there are many questions about how one signs up or registers for a COVID -19 vaccination. While our new president has proposed a program of vaccinating 100 million people in his first 100 days, understanding your state and local health department’s current operations may help you obtain a vaccination at your earliest eligibility.
At this juncture, each state is managing their own distribution, so look to your state’s Department of Health for guidance and information.
FLORIDA’S CURRENT DISTRIBUTION INFORMATION.
On December 23, 2020, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-315 which outlines the distribution phase we are currently in.
During this first phase of vaccine administration, all providers administering any COVID-19 vaccine shall only vaccinate the following populations:
Long-term care facility residents and staff:
Persons 65 years and older;
Health care personnel with direct patient contact:
Hospital providers, however, also may vaccinate persons they deem to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
Where can I get a vaccine in Florida?
Vaccinations are currently being administered at certain hospitals, long-term care facilities and through county health departments. DeSantis announced on Jan. 13 that vaccines will soon be available at several Publix Pharmacy locations throughout the state. Again, keep looking at your county health department to determine if and where you can get a vaccine.
Once more vaccine doses are available, Florida plans to set up mass vaccination clinics and may partner with other pharmacies, community health centers and correctional facilities. Some counties have already set up drive-through vaccine sites similar to those currently used for COVID-19 testing.
When will I know when I can receive a vaccine?
Again, continue to monitor your local health department to determine whether you can get a vaccine. You can also follow updates about the vaccine’s availability for various groups on the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine website. You can also text “FLCOVID19” to 888777 to learn more about the governor’s distribution plan.
A few tips from the front: things we learned as Nurse volunteers
If you fit the Governor’s current eligibility criteria, you may sign up for a vaccine anywhere in the state. Some counties and municipalities are attempting to restrict access to their area residents, however the order does not permit this. What we recommend at this juncture is that you register with the state, as we do expect more availability and a statewide system to be operational soon. IN THE MEANTIME, keep looking at your own county and surrounding counties for sign up information. Also, if you are at a high risk, check your local health care facilities and physicians’ offices for information about when and where you may be able to get a vaccine. For example, Cleveland Clinic patients, Baptist Health System patients and other healthcare facilities are making COVID vaccines available for high risk individuals now. https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/
Do I have to get 2 vaccinations?
The initial COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these vaccines, you’ll need a follow-up dose a few weeks later to be effectively immunized. “What you have is you get some degree, not optimal, but some degree of immunity a couple of weeks after the first dose,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in December. “That’s not optimal. After the second dose, you get optimal immunity anywhere from seven to 10 days after the second dose.”
Johnson & Johnson as well as other, manufacturers have announced promising results for their single dose vaccines. However, the single dose vaccines are not generally available now.
A few more tips from the front
First and foremost, whatever type of vaccine you get for a first dose, you must get a second dose from the same manufacturer. In other words, if you received a Pfizer vaccine, you must get a Pfizer vaccine and the same holds true for Moderna. They cannot be mixed.
If you received a first dose, you likely received a vaccination card or printout that tells you where, when and which type of vaccine you received. Some counties and facilities have automatic return appointments set up at the time you received your first vaccination. Many others do not have automated immediate return appointments. The manufacturer has set for second vaccinations, 21 days after receiving a Pfizer and 28 days after receiving a Moderna to get your second vaccine. However, we were instructing folks that they had some leeway in terms of returning for their second vaccine. Additionally, you don’t necessarily have to return to the place you received your first to get your second. Meaning, if the vaccine you received becomes available at Publix, CVS, Walgreens or surrounding county – you may be able to get your second vaccine in a different location depending on availability. Again, follow your county health department announcements and the state health department vaccination announcements at https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/. Look through this webpage as there are lists of healthcare facilities as well as county links to availability. We are expecting a statewide appointment system soon!
Will I have a choice about which vaccine I get?
Short answer, not really. Different areas are getting and will likely continue to get different vaccines. Throughout Florida Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being utilized. It appears to simply be related to geography.
How long after my first dose (and then second) will I begin to develop immunity?
The Pfizer vaccine was shown to be only 52 % effective 21 days after the first dose. You need both doses to get to 95% effective as shown in the clinical trials by Pfizer and Moderna. You will get instructions from your health care provider/ vaccine administrator about this. Generally speaking, you should consider yourself at full risk until several weeks after your second dose.
Once I am fully vaccinated, then what?
EVERYONE, fully vaccinated, or not, needs to continue ALL current recommendations regarding social distancing, wearing a mask and other instructions concerning the avoiding COVID transmission. Importantly, an estimate of about 10% of the population will not be protected by the vaccine. Additionally, the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from getting the virus, it simply prepares your body to launch a robust defense against the virus from causing you severe illness if you get it.
CALLING ALL NURSES!
We signed up as volunteers through the FL COVID-19 Nurse Volunteer Program. If you are a nurse, retired or inactive you can sign up at:
You are welcome to contact Amie or Susan directly as well.
We continue to wear our masks and socially distance to protect our fellow human beings and ourselves. We ask that everyone do the same. PLEASE STAY SAFE!
We are Susan Ramsey and Amie Goldberg, both practicing attorneys and nurses here at the Romano Law Group. Here is a little more about each of us:
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional negligence, product liability and medical negligence.
Amie Goldberg is both an attorney and a certified APRN. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whittier College, Ms. Goldberg attended nursing school at Emory University. Ms. Goldberg’s professional experience started as a Registered Nurse at Egleston Children’s Hospital taking care of children with congenital heart disease. After a few years, she continued working in all areas of the hospital while attending Kennesaw State University on weekends in order to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialty of Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. During her time as an APRN, Ms. Goldberg decided to attend law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Since graduating, she has mainly practiced in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, fighting for the rights of injured people. Since joining the Romano Law Group, Ms. Goldberg has been the Director of the Opioid Litigation Project. Ms. Goldberg also practices in the area of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence, bringing an inside perspective and knowledge to help get justice for our clients.