Macon County Health Department requests initial 100 doses of the Moderna Vaccine

by Benjamin Nelson

MACON, MO -- The well anticipated vaccine for COVID-19 just got another step closer to being administered within Macon County. The Macon County Health Department announced on December 29th that they were recently approved to provide the vaccinations to citizens within the county. Two vaccinations have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration within the United States: Pfizer and Moderna. According to data released by the CDC, as of this publication, a total of 12.4 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed across the United States with roughly 2.8 million Americans receiving their first dose. Roughly 214,000 doses have been given to the State of Missouri while 66,000 Missourians receiving their first dose of the vaccine.

We spoke with the Macon County Health Department and at this time, they have requested an initial 100 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. When asked why they chose Moderna's vaccine over Pfizer's, Erin Main stated to the paper, "Pfizer comes in larger quantities that must be used within 10 days. We wanted to make sure we could use all the doses we got." According to Main, the vaccine is stored in a freezer and thawed before use. The Department of Health and Human Services via CDC Recommendations has outlined phases in which the vaccine will be distributed to Americans. These phases are grounded in the ability to get the initial vaccine rollout to those who are at higher risk, on our frontlines, etc. These phases are broken into: Phase 1A, Phase 1B, Phase 2 and Phase 3. Healthcare workers and long-term facility residents and staff will be the first to receive the vaccine in Phase 1A which has already begun. In Phase 1B, high risk adult populations, those above the age of 65, first responders, and critical infrastructure workers. Phase 2 will include those within the population of increased risk along with prisoners and those who are homeless. The final phase will include widespread availability for all residents within the state. The Macon County Health Department is currently creating a waiting list for those interested in receiving the vaccine and can call their office at 660-395-4711.

Information pulled from the website of the CDC, show that two doses are needed for those that get the vaccine. Specifically for the Moderna vaccine, each dose is given roughly 28 days from the other. The vaccine does not contain the virus itself, but has a goal of teaching our body to identify the virus itself and fighting it off through building up immunity. From data that the CDC has featured on their website regarding the clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine, it shoes that the vast majority of those who received the trial vaccine, experienced minor to mild side effects after taking the vaccine. Those side effects include chills, tiredness, and a headache. According to health officials, that is expected as the body is learning from the vaccine in building up immunity. A small number of those partaking in the clinical trials, did experience severe side effects that impacted their ability to carry out typical daily activities. Once the FDA approves of a vaccine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) which is comprised of health experts, continues to monitor the distribution and administration of the vaccine for possible side effects while adjusting their recommendations to the CDC accordingly. Recently, the CDC expanded how they monitor side effects. Expansion from existing monitoring systems include "V-Safe" and the "National Healthcare Safety Network." The V-Safe Program is based in smartphone communication where health officials follow up with those who received the vaccine through text messages and surveys regarding possible side effects that they experienced. The National Healthcare Safety Network is comprised of acute to long-term care facilities that report data (side effects) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

The CDC continues to emphasize the safety of Americans as their top priority and are aware of the concerns that some may have regarding the vaccines. "Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness," stated on their website.

For more information regarding the vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html