Friday, January 8, 2021

COVID 19 Vaccination - Why, When, and Where?


The SARS-COV2 virus is known to be very dangerous if not deadly to high risk populations.  Common severe complications from this virus include a life threatening pneumonia requiring hospital care.  

Two highly effective mRNA vaccines are now available (Pfizer and Moderna) in limited quantities and should become increasingly available to high risk individuals before it becomes generally available to the public.  These vaccinations DO NOT contain live virus and therefore CANNOT cause infection.  They are primarily approved for prevention of a severe COVID 19 related illness.  The Pfizer vaccination is approved for 16 and up and the Moderna vaccine is approved for 18 and up.  Both vaccination require 2 doses to be effective. We are currently in phased 1A and 1B in Texas.

Because of limited vaccine availability, CDC and many public health agencies and hospital systems are providing vaccine in a phased manner as indicated below:

Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines (1a)

CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be allocated to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. This is referred to as Phase 1a. Phases may overlap. CDC made this recommendation on December 3, 2020.

Groups who should be offered vaccination next (1b and 1c)

CDC recommends that in Phase 1b and Phase 1c, which may overlap, vaccination should be offered to people in the following groups. CDC made this recommendation on December 22, 2020.

Phase 1b

  • Frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.)
  • People aged 75 years and older because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 75 years and older who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.

Phase 1c

  • People aged 65—74 years because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 65—74 years who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
  • People aged 16—64 years with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
  • Other essential workers, such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.

Texas Department of State Health Services has provided state specific guidance about who is eligible for vaccination now.  

It includes peoples age 16 and above who may have certain underlying conditions.  Those recommendations are listed here:

People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
  • Solid organ transplantation
  • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

There are a variety of other chronic medical conditions that are considered possibly higher risk that may be indication for vaccination as well. That comprehensive list is here:

Below is a link from the Texas DSHS website to help identify a vaccine provider here you:

Vaccine provider locations can be found here