COVID-19 Vaccine Information
February 17, 2021 - Vaccinations for Individuals 65+, individuals with 2+ comorbidities, & residents and staff of low income and affordable senior housing are now eligible.
Further information on this can be found here.
January 26, 2021 - Vaccinations for Individuals 75+ Beginning February 1st
The Department of Public Health announced today that vaccinations for individuals 75+ will begin on February 1 as part of PHASE TWO. Further information on this can be found here.
Appointment scheduling for those individuals will begin as early as WEDNESDAY, January 27, 2021. More information on locations and scheduling appointments can be found here.
For the full press release from the Baker-Polito Administration, read more here.
Following an announcement on Thursday night (1/21/2021) from Lowell General COO, Amy Hoey and Chief of Infectious Disease, Dr. Adam Weston, we are now able to relay to our patients the roll out plan for Phase II of the COVID vaccine distribution. Phase II is hopefully slated to start within the first couple of weeks of February 2021. Currently, Phase II will consist of the following patients:
1) ALL patients over the age of 75 (Information Sheet)
2) All patients with two co-morbid conditions as defined by the Mass DPH.
Those conditions are as follows:
Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Downs Syndrome, Congestive Heart Failure, Coronary Artery Disease, Cardiomyopathy, Immunocompromised state due to previous organ transplant, Obesity with BMI >30; Pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease, Smoking, Type II Diabetes.
If you meet two of the above criteria, you will be eligible in Phase II. If you have any questions concerning your possible eligibility, please contact us at Mill City Medical (978-955-9500).
Within the next two weeks, Circle Health will be finalizing their plans for distribution. The distribution of the vaccine will be given at a central location, still yet to be determined by Lowell General Hospital. The vaccine WILL NOT BE GIVEN at the Mill City Medical office. Unfortunately, as many are aware, there are a number of logistical issues associated with the administration of the vaccine which will prevent us from giving it at Mill City Medical. Lowell General Hospital will be putting out a link for patients to go online and register. Upon registration, patients will be given a scheduled time and date to receive their vaccine. We are also planning to have this link for patients on our website once it becomes available. We are available at Mill City Medical to help any patient that has difficulty with the registration process. When registering, you may be asked for insurance information - be advised, this is for demographic information only. THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR THE VACCINE.
Currently, Circle Health will be distributing both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The efficacy and side effects between both the vaccines are similar. You will need to have the same type of vaccine given to you on your second shot. You will be told at the administration of your first vaccine which type you are receiving and when to come back for your second dosage. The current rule of thumb is 21 days for the Pfizer and 28 days for the Moderna. We ask that you try to stay as close to that schedule as possible.
Currently in Massachusetts, all Groups listed
in Phase 1 are eligible.
For an extensive list of who falls within each
category, please visit the mass.gov website
for a list.
They also have vaccination locations for
these groups listed.
Phase 2 is beginning in February!
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes, it is safe. The technology that has been used to develop the vaccine has been around for many years and dates back to research done initially with the HIV virus. This is not something that has just been thought up in the last 8 months.
Are there side effects from the vaccine?
So far, they are quite minimal. Usually soreness at the injection site, achy, fatigue, possible low grade fever. These are all completely normal and signs that your immune system is reacting correctly to the vaccine. Most reported symptoms are gone within 24 hours. A very rare side effect of an allergic reaction has been reported - currently in about 1 out of every 100,000 people getting the vaccine. This is why patients are required to receive the vaccine in a monitored setting with medical professionals and be watched for 15 minutes following administration.
Can I get COVID from the vaccine or give someone COVID?
Absolutely NOT. The vaccine is what is called a single-stranded RNA vaccine. It stimulates your cells to create antibodies. There is NO live virus in the vaccine.
Who should not get this vaccine?
Almost no one. The only absolute contraindication to the vaccine is a known allergic reaction to components in the vaccine. For instance, there is no EGG in the vaccine. This is something you may discuss with your Mill City Medical provider should you have any questions.
I had COVID, do I really need the vaccine?
Absolutely YES. We still do not know, for those who have had COVID, if this provides any long term immunity to future infections. There have been some reported cases of individuals being infected twice. Therefore, yes you should get the vaccine. Even if your infection was recent, as long as you are past the prescribed number of quarantine days and without symptoms, you can get the vaccine.
How long is the vaccine good for?
Moderna is currently saying at least 1 year. Obviously, we do not yet have enough data to say. It may mean yearly booster vaccines in the future similar to the annual influenza vaccine. Stay tuned on this one.
I'm pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant or nursing. Should I get the vaccine?
The American College of OB/GYN has recently recommended that all women who fall into these classes get the COVID 19 vaccine. Yes, it has not been extensively studied in any of these groups. However, the risk of being pregnant and getting COVID outweighs the risk of the vaccine.
Why would I want to get the vaccine?
It is the only way that we ever get back to "normal" is by having the population become vaccinated. This will hopefully stop the spread of COVID once and for all. Also, it is likely that one's ability to travel in the future, attend live sporting events, concerts, etc. may be dependent on the ability to produce proof that you were immunized. Already this week, a few of the countries in the European Union have made it mandatory that all foreign visitors produce proof of immunization. It is likely that this practice will become more common, even for flying and domestic travel.