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Hunterdon Healthcare Hosts Virtual Educational Program: What to expect at a Hunterdon Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic and Vaccine Update

Hunterdon Healthcare is introducing a new virtual series called Medical Mondays.  The second program will focus on What to Expect at a Hunterdon Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic and Vaccine Update.  This program will be held on Monday, January 25th from 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. via Google Meet.

Hunterdon Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic and Vaccine Update will be moderated by Patrick Gavin, President and CEO of Hunterdon Healthcare and include specialists:  Geralyn Prosswimmer, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Hunterdon Healthcare Partners and Rose Puelle, PhD, Administrative Director, Population Health and Data Integrity, Hunterdon Healthcare Partners.

The program will begin with a tour of Hunterdon Healthcare’s Vaccination Clinic and a vaccine update followed by a question and answer session.

Attendees can submit questions in advance to Kseelig@hhsnj.org or post via the chat feature during the program.  To register, please email Kathleen Seelig, Corporate Director Marketing and Public Relations, Kseelig@hhsnj.org.   A confirmation email and the Google Meet link will be sent once registration is received.

 

Medical Mondays – COVID-19 Vaccine 101

Hunterdon Healthcare Medical Mondays Program

Tour of Hunterdon Healthcare’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic and Vaccination Update

January 25, 2021 – Hunterdon Healthcare hosted our second Medical Mondays program today. If you missed the program or would like to share what you learned with family and friends, below is a link. This program provides a tour of our vaccination clinic at Hunterdon Medical Center and a vaccine update.

COVID-19 Vaccine 101 – What do Patients Need to Know?

January 18, 2021 – Hunterdon Healthcare hosted our first Medical Mondays program today. If you missed the program or would like to share what you learned with family and friends, below is a link. This program focused on COVID-19 Vaccine 101 – What do Patients Need to Know?

 

When can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

We understand the frustration with trying to find an appointment for a COVID-19 Vaccine. The supply at this time is not meeting the demand, but our hope is that this will change soon. We have heard many concerns from our community regarding the registration process for signing up for the vaccine. As of March 4, 2021, Hunterdon Healthcare is now offering a COVID-19 Vaccination Wait List.

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic appointments will be scheduled from the wait list for those who are eligible based on New Jersey vaccination phases – not by when you sign-up. As a reminder, vaccine is distributed according to eligibility as per the New Jersey Department of Health and CDC guidelines. Vaccination clinics will be scheduled as vaccine becomes available. Due to COVID-19 vaccine supply limitations, it may be some time until you receive a call or notification to schedule an appointment. Please be patient. By placing your name on this list you will be contacted when appointments are available and you are eligible. There is no benefit in signing up yourself or others more than once.

When registered, you will receive a confirmation email and weekly status emails. If you receive your vaccination at another facility we ask that you remove your name from this list using the cancel link in the weekly status emails. This helps us to more quickly contact others who are on the list and would like to schedule appointments.

To register for Hunterdon Healthcare’s COVID-19 Vaccination Wait List click the following link: https://hunterdoncovidvaccine.org to complete the form.

How do I place my name on the vaccine waitlist?

If I place my name on the waitlist am I guaranteed a vaccination?
Every individual who submits the online request form to be added to the waitlist will be called to schedule a vaccine when they are eligible to receive the vaccine and when vaccine is available to distribute. Please be patient as it may be several weeks or longer before you are contacted to schedule an appointment. We encourage everyone interested in a COVID-19 vaccination to pursue all possible vaccination opportunities outside of Hunterdon Healthcare (i.e. CVS, Walgreens, ShopRite, Rite-Aid, local Health Department, state vaccine mega sites, etc.) in the event that you may be able to obtain the vaccine at an earlier date due to vaccine availability at different sites across the area/state.

How soon after I sign-up on the waiting list should I expect a call to schedule my vaccination?
Individuals on the waitlist will be prioritized by New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) eligibility requirements. Hunterdon Healthcare will schedule vaccination clinics as vaccine is received. Individuals from the waitlist meeting the eligibility requirements will be pulled into a list and starting at the top, contacted to schedule an appointment. Once all appointments for that clinic are filled the remaining names will still be on the waitlist, in the same order, until more vaccine is received and a new clinic scheduled. This process will be repeated for every clinic moving forward. Without knowing in advance how much vaccine we will receive for any one delivery or when we will receive the vaccine we are not able to offer specific time frames for scheduling a vaccination.

If I sign-up multiple times will it help me get the vaccine faster?
No. Individuals on the waitlist will be called based on their eligibility, to which they must attest when scheduled, and NOT their position on the list. Even if you include your name on the waitlist 10 times you will only be called when you meet the eligibility criteria and when vaccine is available to offer. Signing-up using multiple emails will also not increase your chances or expedite an invitation to schedule an appointment.

Do you expect to receive vaccine on a regular basis and larger quantities?
With the increased production of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines we feel confident that we will begin to see more frequent and larger quantities of the vaccine delivered to us. Hunterdon Healthcare is prepared to administer up to 2,000 vaccinations a week as soon as that quantity of vaccine is made available to us.

How long should I wait before calling you if I haven’t received a call?
Once you register for our waitlist you will receive an email confirming your inclusion. Each week you will receive an email with a vaccine status update. As a reminder, you will not be called to make a vaccination appointment until you meet NJDOH eligibility requirements. Once you meet these requirements and enough vaccine is available, you will be contacted to schedule your appointment. Please do not call your physician or the hospital for a status report as neither will have access to that information. The demand for the vaccine is significantly higher than the quantities of vaccine being distributed throughout the state. We kindly ask for your patience as it will take a couple of months (or longer) to vaccinate every individual who wishes to be vaccinated.

I signed-up for the waitlist but didn’t receive a confirmation email. What do I do?
First, check your spam folder to make sure your email settings didn’t block it from your inbox. If the email isn’t in your spam folder, please submit the form again as a bad Internet connection or internal error may have prevented your submission from being sent. If afterwards you still do not receive a confirmation email, please call the Call Center at (908) 237-4238 for assistance. Representatives will be accepting calls from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Vaccination Scheduling Call Center is not open on weekends or holidays.

I’m not receiving the weekly update email. What do I do?
First, check your spam folder to make sure your email settings didn’t block it from your inbox. If the email isn’t in your spam folder, please call the Call Center at (908) 237-4238 for assistance. Representatives will be accepting calls from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Vaccination Scheduling Call Center is not open on weekends or holidays.

My friend signed-up for the waitlist several days after I did and they received a call to schedule an appointment. Why did they receive a call before me?
Individuals on the waitlist will be contacted to schedule an appointment based on their eligibility and risk factors. If they were contacted before you then they may have identified medical issues included on the list of NJDOH mandated eligibility requirements. In the event of all things being equal with the exception of the order in which you submitted your form to be placed on the list, then it is likely that our Call Center attempted to reach you to schedule an appointment but was unable to reach you for any variety of reasons. If you were unable to be reached then they will proceed to the next individual on the list. If this happens, do not be concerned. Your name will not be removed from the list nor will the order in which you submitted your request change. You will be contacted again to schedule an appointment at the next available vaccination clinic.

If I miss the call to schedule an appointment what do I do?
You do not have to do anything. You will retain your position on the list and will be called to schedule an appointment at the next available vaccination clinic. Please note that all calls from the Vaccination Scheduling Call Center will appear as “Hunterdon Healthcare” on your caller-ID.

Can I sign-up for someone else who is unable to do so?
Absolutely, with their permission, of course.

Do you expect to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
At this time we have not been notified that we are receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This does not mean that we will not receive it. Hunterdon Healthcare receives notification from the State of New Jersey about expected vaccine deliveries only days before the vaccine is received. Hunterdon Healthcare has previously received both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines so it is likely that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also be received at some point.

Can I choose which vaccine I want?
Unfortunately, no. Vaccination clinics are scheduled based on the vaccine received. All first dose vaccination clinics will only offer one vaccine. The brand of vaccine will be shared with individuals when contacted to schedule an appointment. Should the individual choose not to schedule an appointment based on the brand of vaccine available, they continue to remain on the waitlist.

Can I remove my name from the waitlist if I receive the vaccine elsewhere?
Yes, please do! A link to do so will be provided in the weekly vaccine status update email.

If I received my first dose of Pfizer or Moderna does my second dose have to be the same brand?
Yes.

If I received my first vaccine somewhere other than Hunterdon Healthcare can I receive my second vaccine at Hunterdon?
No. Second doses of vaccine are distributed to vaccination sites specifically for the individuals who received their first dose at that site. You should receive your second dose at the same facility as your first dose. If your first dose of vaccine was received out-of-state and you are not able to return to that state for your second dose, please contact our Vaccination Scheduling Call Center at (908) 237-4238 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, for guidance.

Am I eligible to get the vaccine now?
For the latest information refer to https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine or call 1-855-568-0545.

As of March 3, 2021,vaccines are available to the following groups:

  • Paid and unpaid healthcare workers
  • Residents and workers of long-term care and high-risk congregate care facilities
  • First responders including sworn law enforcement and fire professionals
  • Individuals aged over 65
  • Individuals aged 16-64 that have certain medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus

Beginning March 15, 2021, the following groups will be eligible to book vaccine appointments:

  • Pre-K to 12 educators and staff
  • Childcare workers
  • Transportation workers
  • Additional public safety workers
  • Additional high-risk individuals

Beginning March 29, 2021, additional frontline essential workers will be eligible to book vaccine appointments.

Where else can I get the vaccine in the area?
Please visit the NJ Vaccine Schedule System; https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/ for a list of vaccination locations.

If you registered through the state vaccine site you will first be notified when you become eligible for the vaccine and then notified again when an appointment is available to you through their scheduling system.

If I am not a Hunterdon County resident or do not work in Hunterdon can I get the vaccine from you?
Hunterdon Healthcare is permitted to administer vaccine to all individuals who live, work, go to school, and/or receive medical care in the State of New Jersey. Eligibility is not restricted to the specific county in which you live or work.

If I am feeling sick on the day of my vaccine appointment can I still receive it?
Please call your Primary Care provider for individualized instructions.

What are the differences between the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made using messenger RNA, or mRNA, a technology that delivers a bit of genetic code to cells — in effect, a recipe to make the surface protein (known as spike) on the SARS-2 virus. The proteins made with the mRNA instructions activate the immune system, teaching it to see the spike protein as foreign and develop antibodies and other immunity weapons with which to fight it.

The J&J vaccine uses a different approach to instruct human cells to make the SARS-2 spike protein, which then triggers an immune response. It is what’s known as a viral vector vaccine. A harmless adenovirus that can’t make you sick has been engineered to carry the genetic code for the SARS-2 spike protein. Once the adenovirus enters cells, they use that code to make spike proteins.

The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for use for people aged 16 and older. Moderna’s has been cleared for use in people 18 and older. J&J’s vaccine has been cleared for people 18 and older.
The Pfizer vaccine showed efficacy of 95% at preventing symptomatic Covid infection after two doses. The Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 after the second dose.

But comparing the efficacy of those vaccines to the efficacy of Johnson & Johnson’s is challenging because of differences in the designs of the Phase 3 clinical tests. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s trials both tested for any symptomatic Covid infection. Pfizer started counting cases from seven days after receipt of the second dose of vaccine, while Moderna waited until day 14 to start counting cases.

J&J, by contrast, sought to determine whether one dose of its vaccine protected against moderate to severe Covid illness — defined as a combination of a positive test and at least one symptom such as shortness of breath, beginning from 14 or 28 days after the single shot. (The company collected data for both.)
There are two other key differences in the study data: geography and calendar. The studies were done in different locations where different strains were circulating. And they were done during different months, when the amount of virus in the community differed.

Because of the difference in the trials, making direct comparisons is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. The J&J one-dose vaccine was shown to be 85% protective against severe disease.

February 28, 2021 – We sincerely appreciate the wonderful compliments regarding our COVID-19 vaccination clinics we have received from members of our community.

It is important to note that at this time, Hunterdon Healthcare does not have a vaccine waitlist, however, we are in the process of creating a new registration system which will be communicated shortly.

Physicians associated/aligned with Hunterdon Medical Center with patients who meet current eligibility requirements provided our Vaccination Team names of their patients considered most vulnerable to the virus. Because vaccine continues to be very limited patients have been chosen randomly from these names to schedule for small first dose clinics as the vaccine has been received.

As more vaccine becomes available and larger quantities are received, we will be able to host many more and much larger clinics that will expedite our ability to vaccinate those eligible to receive the vaccine.

We want to make sure everyone has a vaccination experience like those being shared on Facebook and our team has been diligently working on a new waitlist and process that we believe will offer a significantly better and easier opportunity for members of the community interested in receiving the vaccine to be included on a waitlist and obtain a vaccine appointment. We’re finalizing the details and plan to make a formal announcement later this week.

With the increased production of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as the recent FDA approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we’re confident that we will soon begin to receive larger quantities of these vaccines allowing us to offer many more vaccine clinics.

We truly appreciate the patience and understanding of our community. Please continue to watch our Facebook page and hunterdonhealthcare.org for our new waitlist details later this week.

Tour of Hunterdon Medical Center’s Vaccination Clinic

Important Message Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine

January 18, 2021Governor Murphy announced on January 13 that, effective January 14, vaccine distribution phase 1A is expanded to include persons age 65 and up, and persons age 16-64 with conditions that increase the risk for serious COVID-19.

Hunterdon Healthcare has been working for many weeks to prepare for community vaccination. The changes announced by Governor Murphy have resulted in many community inquiries to schedule appointments to get vaccinated.

Please be assured that we will do everything we can to get vaccines to people who meet the criteria defined by the State as soon as possible. You will be able to call a central number to get vaccinated, once we have the vaccine supply.
We want to help you get vaccinated. Please follow us on Facebook (Hunterdon Healthcare), watch our website and local newspapers for vaccination appointment information when vaccine supply arrives. And of course, monitor your patient portal for messages as well.

Please realize that it will take weeks to months for everyone to get vaccinated.

And, remember to protect yourself and your community by masking and maintain social distancing.

We strongly encourage you to visit the websites named above to register for the vaccine and check on State and County-run clinics.

If you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine here at Hunterdon Healthcare and meet the criteria listed above, please call Hunterdon Healthcare’s Vaccine Call Center at 908-237-4238 to schedule an appointment at one of our clinics.

Please note: There is extremely high call volume and demand to receive the vaccine. Please be patient. More clinics are being added to meet the demand.

Thank you!

COVID-19 Vaccinations are Available for Healthcare Workers in Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, and Warren Counties

January 6, 2021Hunterdon Healthcare has a COVID-19 vaccine available for healthcare workers.

Who are “healthcare personnel” in Phase 1A? Healthcare personnel is paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.
Examples of healthcare workers, but not limited to:
✓ Licensed healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, dentists, and pharmacists
✓ Staff like receptionists, janitors, mortuary services, laboratory technicians
✓ Consultants, per diem, and contractors who are not directly employed by the facility
✓ Unpaid workers like health professional students, trainees, volunteers, and essential caregivers
✓ Community health workers, doulas, and public health professionals like Medical Reserve Corps
✓ Personnel with variable venues like EMS, paramedics, funeral staff, and autopsy workers
✓ Other paid or unpaid people who work in a healthcare setting, who may have direct or indirect contact with infectious persons or materials, and who cannot work from home.

Please call Hunterdon Healthcare’s Vaccine Call Center at 908-237-4238 to schedule an appointment at one of our clinics. You do not need to be a patient of Hunterdon Healthcare, but do need to be a healthcare worker living or working in Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, and/or Warren Counties.

Eligibility

Eligibility for the vaccine is dependent on your health status, age, and profession. It also depends on the amount of vaccine received in accomplishing the first phase — called Phase 1A — which has been underway for health care workers and nursing home residents. These phases were created by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and are being followed by the Department of Health in each state. Hunterdon Healthcare is deep into Phase 1A with first dose vaccines already provided to more than 60% of our caregivers and now beginning to administer second doses this week.

In addition to vaccinating all of our healthcare workers, providers, and nurses, we are also actively vaccinating other healthcare professionals (i.e. dentists) not associated with the hospital in Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset, and Mercer Counties.

Individuals who are 75 and older have been prioritized to be included in the upcoming second phase – Phase 1B – which also includes frontline essential workers such as firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, teachers, and daycare workers.

Details on how to register for the vaccine and exactly when Phase1B will start have not yet been released but are expected to start soon.

The third phase, called Phase 1C, includes people aged 65 to 74 years (high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19), people aged 16 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions (increased risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19), and 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.

The following, Phase 2, includes the rest of the population wanting to receive the vaccine, which is expected to begin by summer 2021.

We understand the demand our community has for the vaccine and as soon as the state of New Jersey permits us to enter the next phase of vaccinations, we will be ready to do so in collaboration with our practices and the county department of health.

At this time there is no need to contact your Hunterdon Healthcare provider or Hunterdon Medical Center to request a COVID vaccination. As soon as the vaccine and approval to proceed to the next phase are received we will immediately communicate with you through our patient portal, our Facebook page, and the local media.

In the interim, if you would like to read additional information on the COVID-19 vaccine: availability, distribution schedule, and locations, you can find these details and more at HTTP://covid19.nj.gov.

COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A

COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A

December 9, 2020 – At Hunterdon Healthcare, we have worked hard to prepare for and respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The efforts of our team have truly been heroic as they have answered the call to care for our friends and neighbors.

With a vaccine expected to soon arrive, we are now at a turning point in the pandemic and are excited to share that Hunterdon Healthcare could receive its first shipment of doses for community distribution within the first couple of months of 2021.

The health and safety of team members, patients, and community members continue to be our number one priority, and we are doing everything we can to responsibly prepare for the vaccine.

The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is a major step forward in our quest to conquer the pandemic and save lives.

Each individual must decide if they wish to be vaccinated. Here are some questions and answers to help with this decision.

I’ve heard about something called “Operation Warp Speed.” What is it and what does it have to do with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Operation Warp Speed is a partnership among components of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and the Department of Defense (DOD).

Operation Warp Speed’s goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available in the first few months of 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures).

The United States Congress has invested nearly $10 Billion dollars in the expeditious development of safe and effective vaccines to be delivered to patients more rapidly while adhering to standards for safety and efficacy.

When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available in the United States?

The goal for Operation Warp Speed is to deliver safe vaccines that work, with the first supply becoming available before the end of 2020. When a vaccine is authorized or approved in the United States, there may not be enough doses available for all adults right away. Supplies will increase over time, and all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children or pregnant women until more studies are completed.

Although numerous pharmaceutical companies are diligently working on various versions of a COVID-19 vaccine, two well-established organizations: Pfizer and Moderna, both applied for and received approval for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) does not mean that a new drug or vaccine can be distributed for use without completing the required and necessary trial phases. Drugs and vaccines approved under a EUA still require appropriate testing, successful and acceptable outcomes, and thorough clinical review before public distribution is allowed.

Due to the tremendous financial and human capital resources dedicated to supporting the development and testing of these vaccines, the typical multi-year timeframe was able to be effectively condensed thereby allowing developers the ability to bring forward the trial research for formal review much sooner than previous vaccines.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have been verified by the Food and Drug Administration with a 95 percent efficacy rate and cleared for public distribution beginning in mid-December 2020.

How did the COVID vaccines get approved? Was the process too rushed?

• The approval process for vaccines protecting against COVID-19 requires rigorous testing and trials to prove the vaccine is safe and effective, and the U.S. vaccine safety system is working to ensure that all vaccines meet stringent criteria before distribution.
• Hunterdon Healthcare is working closely with, and following the guidance of, federal and state public health authorities to thoughtfully plan and ensure we are ready for distribution as soon as an authorized vaccine is available.
• Planning has been underway to ensure we are prepared to store, track, transport, and administer the vaccine quickly and efficiently.
• All of the necessary steps have been followed in researching the vaccine. Because a COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to ending the pandemic, many more resources were devoted to developing a vaccine quickly, bringing it to market much faster than previous vaccines.
• Three phases of clinical trials were followed. First, volunteers are given a vaccine candidate to see if it works, then tens of thousands of vaccine recipients are watched for side effects and illness compared to the thousands of volunteers who received a placebo (non-vaccine) injection.
• If a vaccine is shown to work for at least 50% of those in trials and shows a very low risk of side effects, the FDA approves it for use in the US.
• Independent advisors get to review and comment on all trial data, then decide whether or not the vaccine is safe and effective enough to recommend for some or all people in the US.
• Professional groups such as AAP, ACP, ACOG, and AAFP look over the data as well as the independent advisor recommendations. They then decide whether or not to accept them. Their findings are communicated to the healthcare professionals they lead.
• Your public health officials and trusted healthcare providers will have access to all of the data and information to help you decide whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
• Easy access to COVID-19 vaccines is equally critical. The CDC is working with public health, healthcare providers, and other partners to make sure people can easily get a COVID-19 vaccine and that cost is not a barrier.

Specific information related to both vaccines will be aggressively communicated to the public once the vaccine becomes readily available. You can receive this information through your favorite news network, media outlet, here on the Hunterdon Healthcare website or the Hunterdon Healthcare Facebook page. As new information becomes available it will be immediately shared. If you have questions about the vaccine for which you can’t find easy answers, please feel free to call our Hunterdon Healthcare COVID-19 Hotline at (908) 788-6440 and one of our representatives will be happy to help you.

Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?

When FDA first authorizes or approves the use of one or more COVID-19 vaccines, there will be a limited supply. This would mean that not everyone will be able to be vaccinated right away.

Supply of the vaccine will continually increase in the weeks and months to follow the initial distribution. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available.

At this time, the CDC is hopeful that by summer 2021 everyone who wants to be vaccinated will have been vaccinated.

Are there special considerations on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine first?

At first, there will be a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. Operation Warp Speed is working to get those first vaccine doses out once a vaccine is authorized or approved and recommended, rather than waiting until there is enough vaccine for everyone. However, it is important that the initial supplies of vaccine are given to people in a fair, ethical, and transparent way. Based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) it has been decided that the first doses of the vaccine will be offered to healthcare workers with direct exposure to patients and nursing home patients. Additional phases will be announced as the vaccine becomes available.

There are different versions of the COVID-19 vaccine. Which one should I get?

• Experts recommend that you get any approved vaccine and that you are vaccinated as soon as possible.
• When a vaccine requires a second dose, it must be from the same manufacturer and must be taken within the necessary timeframe between doses.
• The Moderna vaccine requires two doses separated by at least 28 days.
• The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses separated by at least 21 days.
• Detailed information for both vaccines will be immediately shared as soon as it becomes available.

Can I pick which vaccine I want to get?

It is recommended that you get any approved vaccine available in your community. We do not know if or when there will be more than one choice in our area. Both doses must be from the same manufacturer.

Will I get COVID-19 by getting the vaccine?

You cannot get COVID-19 from a COVID-19 vaccine.

How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need?

All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines soon to be distributed in the United States need two shots, taken between 21-28 days apart (depending on vaccine), to be effective. The other COVID-19 vaccine, not yet out of its clinical trial period uses one shot.

Will I still need to wear a mask if I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The CDC recommends that during the pandemic people must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside their household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine. Masks should continue to be worn until otherwise advised by the CDC – regardless of whether or not you’ve had the vaccine.

While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. All vaccines trigger an immune response in your body. This response protects you when you are exposed to the virus. There are common symptoms after any vaccination, including the COVID-19 vaccine. These are minor, can occur with any vaccine and not a cause for concern. Limited few examples of these minor reactions are pain at the injection site, muscle aches, low-grade fever, fatigue, and/or headaches. When these symptoms occur after a vaccine dose, they typically go away in a few days. It does not mean you shouldn’t get a future vaccine dose.

Researchers must detect and report serious side effects of vaccines. For both vaccines coming to market, there were no serious side effects attributed to the vaccine.

Is the vaccine effective?

Yes. People who receive the vaccine are about 95% less likely to get infected with COVID, especially severe COVID.

Who should get the vaccine?

At this time, the vaccines that will soon be available are only appropriate for persons aged 18 years or older.

The CDC, along with other experts, has prioritized vaccine recipients until the supply is sufficient for everyone. Healthcare workers are the first priority group, both because of their potential for exposure to COVID-19 and because they are critical to caring for those who are sick. Nursing home residents are also in the first group since viruses spread in congregate living settings and they are medically fragile.

Those with personal health risk factors are another important group for vaccination, since the chances of serious infection, hospitalization, and death are increased for these individuals.

Who should not get the vaccine?

Those who are allergic to components in the vaccine. (Information related to the potential side effects of each approved vaccine will be provided as soon as the details are received.)

Those who have a serious reaction to a prior dose should not receive a subsequent dose. Remember, minor reactions mean your immune system is working to recognize the virus if you encounter it in the future. Minor reactions are not a reason to skip the vaccine!

Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine will be available to everyone at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone, which may be billed to insurance or waived depending on financial need.

If I want the vaccine when it is available, where can I get it?

Logistics for vaccine distribution are still being developed but as the vaccine becomes widely available for the public it is expected that the vaccine will be available through your primary care provider’s office, pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, and public health offices. Please continue to visit our website for a list of vaccine locations as they become known.

If I was already diagnosed with COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated when it is available?

There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Until additional research is available regarding long-term immunity to the COVID-19 virus after vaccination, it is recommended that you still receive the vaccine.

I’ve heard that vaccines, in general, aren’t good or really necessary for you. Why should I get vaccinated for anything?

Every year thousands of adults in the U.S. become seriously ill and are hospitalized because of diseases that vaccines can help prevent. Many adults even die from these diseases. By getting vaccinated, you can help protect yourself from much of this unnecessary suffering.

1. Vaccines can lower your chance of getting certain diseases.
Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to help you safely develop immunity to disease. This lowers your chances of getting certain diseases and suffering from their complications.
2. Vaccines lower your chance of spreading disease.
Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition. They rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease. Infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious disease. For example, newborn babies are too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough. Unfortunately, whooping cough can be very dangerous or even deadly for them. Pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccine during every pregnancy to help protect their babies from whooping cough. Anyone who is around babies should be up to date with their whooping cough vaccine.
3. You can’t afford to get sick!
You have a busy life and too much responsibility to risk getting sick. Vaccines can help you stay healthy so you don’t miss work. If you can avoid getting sick, you will have more time for your family, friends, and hobbies. Getting recommended vaccines can give you some peace of mind. You will have the best possible protection available against a number of serious diseases.
4. Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect your health and the health of others.

Information provided by CDC.gov website

 

Medical Mondays Program – COVID-19 Vaccine 101 – What do Patients Need to Know?

Hunterdon Healthcare hosted our first Medical Mondays program today. If you missed the program or would like to share what you learned with family and friends, below is a link to the program. This program focused on COVID-19 Vaccine 101 – What do Patients Need to Know?

Hunterdon Healthcare Hosts Virtual Educational Program: COVID-19 Vaccine 101 – What do I need to know?

Hunterdon Healthcare is introducing a new virtual series called Medical Mondays.  The first program will focus on COVID-19 Vaccine 101 – What do I need to know? This program will be held on Monday, January 18th from 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. via Google Meet.

COVID-19 Vaccine 101 will be moderated by Patrick Gavin, President and CEO of Hunterdon Healthcare, and include specialists:  Geralyn Prosswimmer, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Hunterdon Healthcare Partners, and Lisa Rasimowicz, MSN, RN, CIC, Director, Infection Prevention and Patient Safety Officer, Hunterdon Healthcare.

Topics will include, but are not limited to, the difference between the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the effectiveness of the vaccines, what is an mRNA vaccine, possible side effects, immunity, and the phases, roll out and Hunterdon Healthcare’s vaccine response plans.

Attendees can submit questions in advance to Kseelig@hhsnj.org or post via the chat feature during the program. To register, please email Kathleen Seelig, Corporate Director Marketing and Public Relations, Kseelig@hhsnj.org. A confirmation email and the Google Meet link will be sent once registration is received.

 

The COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives at Hunterdon Medical Center

Hunterdon Healthcare Receives COVID-19 Vaccine

On Thursday, December 17th at 10:30 a.m., Hunterdon Healthcare received the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer to begin vaccinating employees.

“With approved COVID-19 vaccines now being distributed to hospitals, we are eager to begin administering the vaccine to our physicians, nurses, and clinicians providing direct patient care. State and federal public health guidelines carefully prioritized the first doses based on factors such as frontline workers and those highest at-risk for infection or severe illness,” explained Patrick Gavin, President and CEO, Hunterdon Healthcare.  Hunterdon Healthcare received 975 doses and will begin administering the vaccine to employees on Thursday evening.   Hunterdon Healthcare will vaccinate 3,000 employees and healthcare workers.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect us against the virus.  The Pfizer vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95 percent with no serious safety concerns based on clinical trials with more than 38,000 people. The Pfizer vaccine will require two doses spaced 21 days apart.

Mr. Gavin added, “While we don’t know when a vaccine will be widely available for our community, we are thoughtfully planning and working closely with federal and state public health officials to ensure we are ready for distribution as soon as an authorized vaccine is available. The health and safety of health care workers, patients and the community are our number one priority at Hunterdon Healthcare, and we strive to deliver compassionate and exceptional care that improves the health of the community.”

For additional COVID vaccine information and distribution details (when available), please visit to

https://www.hunterdonhealthcare.org/news_room/vaccine-information/. This site will be regularly updated as new information is made available.

Pictured: Edward Spector, M.D., Emergency Medicine Physician and Chairman of Emergency Medicine was the first person to be vaccinated at Hunterdon Medical Center.  Hunterdon Medical Center will vaccinate 3,000 employees and healthcare workers.

Should I get the COVID-19 Vaccine? General Information

Hunterdon Healthcare Medical Mondays Program – COVID-19 Vaccine 101 – What do Patients Need to Know?

January 18, 2021 – Hunterdon Healthcare hosted our first Medical Mondays program today. If you missed the program or would like to share what you learned with family and friends, below is a link to the program. This program focused on COVID-19 Vaccine 101 – What do Patients Need to Know?

For more information regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine, please click here.

Hunterdon Healthcare Opens COVID-19 Hotline for Community

Hunterdon Healthcare has opened a hotline for the community to call in with questions regarding COVID-19.  The Hunterdon Healthcare COVID-19 Hotline can be reached by calling 908-788-6440.  The hotline will be open Monday-Friday from  8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more information on COVID-19, visit www.Hunterdonhealthcare.org.

 

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