Unfortunately, most people won’t have a chance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine any time soon. At this writing, only medical professionals who deal with COVID-19 patients as well as nursing home residents and staff are being vaccinated, as well as essential workers, emergency personnel and those with underlying health conditions.
A few exceptions have included the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, President-elect Joe Biden, his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and Congressional leaders. Here’s where you can find out when you might be able to receive the vaccine. I plan to get vaccinated as soon as it is available locally.
Be aware that the unofficial COVID-19 toll in the U.S. is upwards of 18 million cases and climbing. The disease has claimed more than 325,000 lives, a number that also is escalating daily. Given those horrific numbers, being vaccinated against the disease is our best bet for protecting ourselves and our families. Beyond that, experts contend that about 70 percent of us need to be vaccinated in order to control the spread of the virus.
You also should know that as a rule, allergic reactions to vaccines are rare and reportedly occur at a rate of about one in a million. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology people with common allergies “are no more likely than the general public to have an allergic reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.”
You also should be aware that everyone who receives the injection must be observed for at least 20-30 minutes afterwards to be sure no adverse reaction occurs. Those that do can be managed immediately, with the drug epinephrine as the first line treatment.
According to guidelines released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the only people who might not want to get Pfizer’s vaccine are those with a known history of severe allergic reactions to an ingredient in the injection.
I also should warn you about unsolicited offers for a vaccine, COVID-19 tests and Medicare prescription cards. Hang up on callers who ask for personal information related to COVID-19 and ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites. If you make an appointment for a COVID-19 test online, make sure the location is an official testing site. Be aware of scammers pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your Medicare number, financial information, or attempt to set up a COVID-19 test for you and collect payment information for the test.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Releases Guidance on Risk of Allergic Reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine.