What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine right now

Posted on

Aug 24, 2021

To learn more about Intermountain Homecare and Hospice,CLICK HERE.

COVID-19 vaccines may be key to returning to a more normal life someday, but should I feel safe getting it?

Imagine a holiday season with family gatherings, warm hugs, shared meals, and football games enjoyed shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of fellow fans. All that may be possible someday in the future, with the promise of COVID-19 vaccines rolling out across the country in the coming weeks and months. The key to defeating this debilitating and deadly disease is ensuring vaccines are safe and effective, and that enough of us get vaccinated once we have access.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to authorize the first of these vaccines, possibly within days or weeks. It may be months before until theyre available for the general public. Now is the time to learn about COVID-19 vaccines, ask questions, and understand whether and when vaccination might be right for you. While we wait for vaccines and learn more about how long they may provide immunity, all of us must continue masking, social distancing, and practicing other prevention behaviors so we can keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy.

Who will get a COVID-19 vaccine first? When can I expect to get it?

Supplies will be limited for a while after the FDA first authorizes vaccines. The Utah Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that healthcare professionals most likely to come in contact with COVID-19 and long-term care facility residents should be vaccinated first; followed by remaining healthcare workers, emergency responders, people at risk of serious illness, and people age 65+; and then the general public. According to departments of health, all people who want to be vaccinated in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada should be able to access vaccines by summer 2021.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Several vaccines are currently being developed, with the first up for authorization from the FDA within days. The FDA will only approve vaccines if they meet strict safety and effectiveness standards. The FDA, CDC, and Intermountain Healthcare are committed to being fully transparent about any approved vaccine(s), include effectiveness and any risks or side effects. The FDA and CDC have not indicated any potential side effects from vaccines under exploration at this time. Just as with any vaccination, there could be mild side effects like mild pain, swelling, or redness at the site of injection; mild fever; chills; feeling tired; headache; and muscle and joint aches. These are all signs that the immune system has been activated to create immune cells that protect against the virus.

How are COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out so quickly?

The CDC and other national organizations have partnered to form Operation Warp Speed, an initiative to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine program safely. Usually, it takes years to deliver a new vaccine, but Operation Warp Speed has drastically reduced that time frame to just months. The key has been to work on several things developing, testing, and manufacturing all at once, rather than in the traditional way of waiting until one step in the process is complete before starting another one. If testing shows a vaccine is safe and effective and the FDA approves it, doses will be ready to use immediately.

Are COVID-19 vaccines effective?

A vaccine must be at least 50 percent effective (reduces the risk of infection by one half) for it to be granted FDA authorization for emergency use. Another way to say this is: you are half as likely to become infected compared to those who are not vaccinated. Any level of effectiveness can help slow the spread. Early data indicates that some COVID-19 vaccines being developed may be around 95 percent effective.
Because we dont yet know how effective the vaccines are and for how long, individuals will need to continue all other prevention methods including masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene.

Why do we need vaccines for protection?

The way out of the pandemic is to build herd immunity. Herd immunity happens when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease, making person-to-person spread of illness unlikely. This helps protect the whole community. With COVID-19, were seeing that people who are infected lose their immunity three to nine months after having the virus, making herd immunity without a vaccine almost impossible. (Learn more about why non-vaccine herd immunity for COVID-19 is a myth.) If COVID-19 vaccines are found to be safe, effective, and long-lasting, vaccines could be our way to successfully achieve herd immunity.

How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

Vaccines help the body develop immunity by training the immune system to recognize and remember how to respond to the disease-causing part of a virus. Vaccines traditionally contain either weakened or inactivated (killed) viruses or purified, signature proteins of viruses.
In the COVID-19 response, some manufacturers are making vaccines in new ways, using messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA vaccines teach our cells to make a protein, or a piece of a protein, that triggers an immune response inside our bodies, according to the CDC. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. mRNA vaccine does not include live virus and cannot give someone COVID-19. Nor do these vaccines interact with our own DNA in any way. Instead our cells break down and get rid of the mRNA after it receives the instructions.

Should people who were COVID-19 positive and recovered, or who are currently COVID-19 positive get a vaccine?

Individuals with any active illness should wait until they are recovered and feeling well before being vaccinated. The CDC reports COVID-19 infection may provide natural immunity for 90 days. If you have tested positive, it is advised to wait at least 90 days before scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination. Beyond 90 days, we dont yet know how long immunity or antibodies to the COVID-19 virus will last, so we recommend that individuals vaccinate for COVID-19 even if they were previously positive more than 90 days prior.

How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

COVID-19 vaccine supplies will be distributed by the federal government at no cost to patients. The CDC will share more information about this as it becomes available.

Other Articles You May Like

Healthcare Directives

Healthcare Directives are valuable to people in all walks of life. As you read this article, consider obtaining one for yourself.A Healthcare Directive is a tool to designate a health care agent, or someone to make health care decisions on your behalf. It goes into effect upon your inability to make or communicate health care decisions. If you fail to appoint someone to fill this role, the court will appoint a guardian, which may create a costly legal process. If you have Healthcare Directive, you are able to choose the person who will determine what treatments and health care you will receive, including end-of-life or palliative care decisions. Your health care agent makes surrogate decisions, which means that they step in your shoes and make the decisions that you would make on your own if you were able to do so.Ideally, surrogate decisions should be based on your input and the specific preferences you communicated before any loss of decision-making capacity. It should be based on a prior understanding your health care preferences and what you would want under the circumstances. Healthcare Directives are intensely personal documents. When thinking about creating your own, consider:Your values and how they may be reflected in your health care;Your priorities;What life means to you personally; andHow important quality of life is to you.Are there certain conditions that are worse than death to you? Would you undergo a risky procedure if it had a low chance of survival? What if that same procedure had a high chance of survival but would permanently lower your quality of life? How long would you like to be on life support? Its never fun to think about these things, but by selecting a health care agent and informing them of your preferences, you are preparing for the worst-case scenario and ensuring that your wishes will be followed. Clearly, the consequences of having or not having a Healthcare Directive can be huge, which is why we so strongly advocate that everyone, regardless of age or health, have one in their estate plan. Please dont leave your relatives to fumble in the dark if the unthinkable happens and you are unable to make your own health care decisions. Again, while an Healthcare Directive will be helpful to you in the future, you might have an elderly relative who is in need of one right now. So, whether you need one for yourself or for a loved one, contact us today at (385)334-4030 or send an email to info@skvlegal.com to set up your free consultation to determine your specific needs.

Guardians vs. Conservators

Today, we're discussing how to choose between appointing a guardian or conservator. When deciding what kind of protection you need in an aide, there are many things to consider, including:1. What is your personal capacity to care for yourself?2. What areas of life do you need supervision over? Healthcare? Daily maintenance? Or, do you only need help safeguarding finances?3. How extensive is your estate?4. What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator?5. What combination of conservator/guardian would you most benefit from? Guardian only? Conservator only? Or both?Differences Between Guardians and Conservators A guardian is a person (or an institution) who is given authority to act on behalf of a protected person as though they were that person. A guardian can be given a full guardianship over all aspects of your life, or authorities limited to certain areas such as health care, education, or finances. A conservator is given authority only over your finances. Like a guardian, a conservator must be appointed by a court order. However, unlike a guardian, a conservator cannot make personal decisions for you. Conservators DutiesOnce appointed, a conservator becomes the trustee of your estate, which includes income (wages, social security, annuities), real property (a house, other buildings, and land), as well as stocks, bonds, retirement funds, etc. In fact, once appointed, and unless specifically limited, a conservator has all of the authority given by law to conservators, additional authority given to trustees, and the authority of the protected person, except the power to make or change a will. This amounts to a lot of power. Thus, when acting on your behalf, a conservator must act as a prudent investor would. A conservators duties and powers include:Managing your incomeContinuing or participating in the operation of your business or enterprises Making necessary estate paymentsOrganizing and protecting your assetsAppraising and safeguarding your propertyMaking prudent investmentsPaying or contesting any claims against the estateRegularly reporting to the courtThe list above is by no means exhaustive. Because a conservator does have so much power, their authorities and responsibilities are highly regulated. An in depth conversation about these powers is outside of the scope of this blog post, but must be understood and tailored to your specific needs in order to best serve them. Deciding What Is Best For YouIf your are able to care for yourself in every area other than their finances, you might only need a conservator. If you need help in other areas of their life, you probably need a guardian. If your capacity to care for yourself is diminished and you have an extensive estate, you might need both a guardian and a conservator. We understand that deciding how to best plan for your future might seem complicated and daunting. We can help you balance the choices that you have with your needs. Contact us today. 385.334.4030email@skvlegal.com skvlegal.com/book-online

Winter Wellness for Seniors

Winter Wellness for SeniorsBy Patrick Troumbley, MS, CSCSBalancing the 8 Pillars of Wellness for Seniors in Winter: Evidence-Based Insights Introduction As winter descends, the well-being of seniors becomes a paramount concern. Aging individuals must navigate the unique challenges that colder temperatures and reduced daylight hours bring. This article delves into the intricacies of balancing the 8 pillars of wellness for seniors during the winter season, substantiating insights with scholarly references. Physical Wellness Physical wellness, a cornerstone of senior health, demands careful attention during winter. Maintaining physical activity is essential for avoiding the adverse effects of inactivity and cold weather. A study by de Rezende et al. (2014) emphasizes the importance of regular physical activity for seniors, citing its role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Indoor exercises like yoga and chair exercises, as recommended by the American Heart Association (2021), offer viable options to stay active during winter. Mental Wellness The winter months often usher in feelings of isolation and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A study by Melrose (2015) underscores the prevalence of SAD among older adults. Engaging in cognitive stimulation activities can alleviate symptoms. Seniors can find solace in local clubs, virtual classes, and community events, as advocated by Forrester (2017), who highlights the significance of social engagement in mitigating SAD symptoms. Emotional WellnessEmotional wellness hinges on effective emotional regulation. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are integral components of emotional wellness. A systematic review by Rusch et al. (2019) supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions in reducing stress and anxiety. Seniors can access mindfulness resources and guidance on emotional wellness through organizations such as Seniors Blue Book Utah. Social WellnessMaintaining an active social life is pivotal for seniors. The adverse effects of social isolation on senior well-being have been extensively documented (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015). Seniors are encouraged to participate in local clubs and community events, as promoted by Senior Expos, to foster social connections. Intellectual Wellness Intellectual wellness necessitates ongoing learning and mental stimulation. Seniors can embrace hobbies like reading and learning new languages to foster intellectual growth. A study by Verghese et al. (2003) associates intellectual engagement with a reduced risk of cognitive decline in aging individuals. Occupational Wellness Occupational wellness transcends traditional work and relates to engaging in purposeful activities. Volunteering, as explored in a study by Okun et al. (2016), offers seniors a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Seniors can explore volunteer opportunities through organizations like Seniors Blue Book Utah. Environmental Wellness Winter introduces environmental challenges, such as slippery sidewalks and heating concerns. Seniors must ensure their living environments are safe and comfortable. The National Institute on Aging (2021) provides valuable tips for creating senior-friendly environments. Spiritual Wellness Spiritual wellness revolves around finding meaning and purpose in life. Engaging in spiritual practices, such as meditation and prayer, can provide solace and inner peace. A study by Carlson et al. (2016) explores the positive effects of mindfulness-based spiritual practices on well-being. Conclusion Balancing the 8 pillars of wellness is paramount for senior well-being, especially during the winter months. Evidence-based insights emphasize the need for regular physical activity, cognitive stimulation, social engagement, and emotional regulation. Seniors can access resources and information from reputable organizations like Seniors Blue Book Utah and Senior Expos to aid in their pursuit of wellness. By integrating these scholarly insights into their winter routines, seniors can not only survive but thrive during this season, enjoying a life marked by health, happiness, and purpose. References: American Heart Association. (2021). Recommendations for Physical Activity in Older Adults. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-older-adults Carlson, L. E., et al. (2016). Mindfulness-based interventions for coping with cancer. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1373(1), 5-12.de Rezende, L. F. M., et al. (2014). Physical activity and preventable premature deaths from non-communicable diseases in Brazil. Journal of Public Health, 36(3), 514-522. Forrester, A. (2017). Seasonal affective disorder in older adults: improving mood and well-being through leisure interventions. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 41(1), 39-53. Holt-Lunstad, J., et al. (2015). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: A meta-analytic review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 227-237.Melrose, S. (2015). Seasonal affective disorder: An overview of assessment and treatment approaches. Depression Research and Treatment, 2015, 1-6.National Institute on Aging. (2021). Winter Safety Tips for Older Adults. https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/infographics/winter-safety-tips-older-adults Okun, M. A., et al. (2016). Volunteering by older adults and risk of mortality: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 31(6), 634-645. Rusch, H. L., et al. (2019). A randomized controlled trial of the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on posttraumatic growth among survivors of interpersonal violence. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 32(6), 936-946. Verghese, J., et al. (2003). Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly. New England Journal of Medicine, 348(25), 2508-2516.Patrick Troumbley, MS, CSCS