First shipment of COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Dallas County

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Amy Short, Dallas County Public Health Department public health coordinator, smiles behind her mask Tuesday at the arrival of the county’s first shipment of vaccine against COVID-19.

The Dallas County Public Health Department received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine for the county Tuesday, the department said in a statement.

At present the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends COVID-19 vaccine administration for healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. As the supply of vaccine increases, additional populations will be vaccinated through doctor’s offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals and federally qualified health centers.

Every long-term care facility in Dallas County has opted into the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. This program partners a facility with a pharmacy that will administer vaccine to all staff and residents that wish to receive it. The program provides end-to-end management of the COVID-19 vaccination process, including storage, on-site vaccinations and fulfillment of reporting requirements in order to reduce the burden on the facilities.

The Dallas County Public Health Department will be receiving COVID-19 vaccine primarily from Moderna Inc. during initial distribution. On Dec. 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 18 years of age and older.

The Moderna vaccine will require two doses, administered at least one month apart, for full effectiveness. This vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19. A vaccine fact sheet will be provided to everyone who chooses to receive the vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently in use are made using mRNA. The mRNA provides instructions for your body to create the harmless “spike protein” found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19. Your body builds an immune response to this protein that it will remember if the virus enters your body in the future.

The vaccine does not use a live virus and will not cause a COVID-19 infection. Pain at the injection site or other general side effects (fatigue, headache, muscle pain, nausea or fever) may occur, similar to other vaccinations. Injection-site pain and fatigue were the most common side effects reported among clinical trial participants. These symptoms will pass within a day or two and will not cause serious illness.

Vaccination is one tool that the science of public health uses to fight against infectious illnesses. As we continue to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to use every tool available in a layered prevention strategy.

We highly encourage everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to continue wearing a mask in public spaces, distancing 6 feet from those outside your household, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick.

By using a layered public health strategy, we can get control of this pandemic, reduce illness and prevent serious complications and deaths.

If you have any questions about the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Dallas County, call the Dallas County Public Health Department at 515-993-3750. For ongoing updates and COVID-19 information, please visit www.coronavirus.iowa.gov and follow @DallasCoHealth on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. General information can also be obtained by calling 2-1-1. Assistance for non-English-speaking Iowans is also available on the 2-1-1 Language Helpline by calling 1-877-558-2609.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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