FAQ: COVID-19 Vaccine
- What has HMG done to prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine?
HMG is working closely with public health officials in Tennessee and Virginia, following CDC and state guidance around distribution plans and will continue to do so as more information becomes available.
- When will the vaccine be available?
The distribution plans are dependent upon individual states. The vaccine is currently available in Tennessee and Virginia at some distribution sites for all healthcare workers, long term care facility residents and those 70 years of age or older. While both Tennessee and Virginia are following a similar tiered plan, the structure of each plan is different. The timeline and number of doses available at HMG are not yet determined, but we will provide updates as we know more.
- Where can I get a COVID-19 Vaccine?
covid19.tn.gov: Individuals will enter county of residence and personal demographics. This information will determine vaccine eligibility based upon state tiered guidelines and direct the user to county/region specific health department vaccination clinics.
Tennessee’s vaccine distribution plan is as follows:
- Current: Health Department vaccine distribution, Walgreens and CVS distribution to long term care facilities
- February: Health Departments, select rural independent pharmacies and specific Wal-Mart pharmacies
- March/April (Phase 1c): addition of medical provider offices and expansion of pharmacies
Sullivan County Regional Health Department:
HMG may receive COVID vaccine in VA over the next few weeks, dependent upon regional supply and demand.
877-ASK-VDH3 or vdh.virginia.gov are the main resources to direct individuals to appropriate vaccination clinics. HMG offices are located in the following Virginia Health Districts: Lenowisco, Cumberland Plateau, and Mount Rogers.
- The following locations are taking appointment for 65+
- The following locations are taking appointment for 75+
- The following locations are currently out of vaccinations and recommend call back next week for more information:
- Food City Lebanon: 276-889-5914
- Food City Claypool Hill: 276-963-4558
- Russell Co. Health Department: 276-889-7621
- Food City-Weber City: 276-386-7886
- Scott Co. Health Department: 276-386-1312
- Falcon Pharmacy: 276-258-5252
- Michael’s Pharmacy: 276-676-2900
- Pharma Health Express and Wellness: 276-739-7748
- Washington Co. Health Department: 276-676-5604 or 276-696-0110 (current vaccine status not known)
- What will it cost to get the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine will be free to all healthcare workers and patients, but there may be a fee for the administration of the vaccine that most insurance providers will cover.
- How many doses do you anticipate getting at HMG?
The number of doses a healthcare organization receives is determined by a variety of factors, including size and location of the organization. We are awaiting confirmation from the state of Virginia or Tennessee with the number of doses we will have available.
- Is there a second wave of vaccines coming if I’m not in a priority group?
Yes, vaccines will be administered in phases determined by the state. The first phase currently includes healthcare workers with direct patient contact, long-term care facilities and high-risk patients. We will continue to share updates as we know more on timing. For information on each state and district’s phases of distribution, you can go to: https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/ or vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine. Tennessee residents can determine vaccine eligibility through this tool: https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility/
- How effective will the vaccine be?
The FDA’s analysis found that both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are over 94% effective against the virus. This is significantly higher than the flu shot, which is between 40-60% effective. Based on this, we are confident in the vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19.
- How do you know the vaccine is safe?
Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine has gone through a rigorous trial process. In fact, HMG is a participating clinical trial site along with more than 120 others with tens of thousands participants across many different ethnicities and locations.
The safety data is a critical piece of the FDA’s decision to move forward with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The latest vaccine data is showing over 94% efficacy rates. Measures are being utilized across the country to ensure vaccine safety. We are confident in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and are recommending team members get the vaccine as it becomes available.
- Who will be able to receive the vaccine first?
The CDC recommends that certain high-risk groups receive the vaccine first until it is more widely available. Phase one of the roll out is focused on healthcare workers, those who live in long term care facilities, and community members ages 75 and older. The vaccination process for this group has already begun, starting with healthcare workers. We will continue to share updates as new information is available. Tennessee residents can determine vaccine eligibility through this tool: https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility/
We will continue to share updates on the coronavirus section of the HMG website and social media platforms as new information is available. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on timing and vaccine availability.
- Will there be enough of the vaccine for everyone?
Vaccination will be a phased process based upon risk and co-morbid conditions. HMG will adhere to the CDC and state tiered distribution plans. As more vaccine doses become available, HMG is prepared to assist in vaccinating both our own healthcare workers and the community.
- Will HMG be requiring all employees to get vaccinated?
The vaccine is a personal choice for all community members, including HMG employees.
- What are the side effects of the vaccine going to be?
Early information on the vaccine has shown minor side effects, including:
- Pain and tenderness at the injection site
- Slight fever
- Muscle/joint pain
If you experience these side effects, it means that the vaccine is causing your body to create antibodies to fight off the virus.
- Do you know how long the vaccination will last?
Further testing will help us determine how long the immunity will last.
- If I’ve already tested positive for COVID-19, should I still get the vaccine?
Right now, it’s still unknown how long a person’s immunity lasts after they’ve had COVID-19. With that in mind, it is recommended to receive the vaccine after a previous COVID-19 infection.
- Are there concerns around the interaction between the flu and COVID-19 vaccines?
There should be at least 14 days between the COVID-19 vaccination and another vaccine. It is highly recommended for patients to receive the flu shot as the COVID-19 vaccination will not be readily available to the entire community immediately. By getting a flu vaccine, you can help keep yourself healthy and give healthcare workers time to focus on COVID-19.
- Can I reserve a vaccine dose/sign up early on a list?
At this time, there is no reservation list to sign up for the vaccine. As we await more information from Tennessee and Virginia on receiving the vaccine, HMG is preparing for distribution by focusing on our highest risk patients, including those with a number of chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. We have proactively created a system in order to make sure those patients at higher risk receive the vaccine as it becomes available to them. We will be reaching out to these patients to schedule an appointment to get the vaccine once this phase of distribution is reached.
We are following the phased rollout plan as determined by the states. Tennessee residents can determine vaccine eligibility through this tool: https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility/. HMG patients can be assured that we are doing our best to adhere to the guidelines in order to be as ready as possible when we receive available vaccines.