Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Homer
On Thursday morning’s Covid Brief with Kathleen Gustafson, vaccines were the hot topic of the day. South Peninsula Hospital spokesperson Derotha Ferraro said a shipment of 180 doses arrived this week, with health care workers scheduled to get the first shots.
She said inoculations for the general public will come later.
“I think the most important things for people to understand is that at the moment there isn't a line. There isn't a list. So there's no phone number to call. There's no form to fill out. We do not have access to vaccines for anybody other than frontline healthcare workers. So there's no systems in place at all. Hopefully in the next month we will know more and share that immediately. But at the moment, there are no lines. There are no lists. There are no forms.”
Alaska Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll of Homer said the next steps for inoculating the general public will depend on the availability of vaccine.
“The best way to answer that is actually just to highlight kind of the couple pieces of information that we need to know first, before moving forward in regards to opening up vaccine availability for phases beyond the first one. And those two pieces of info that we simply won't know until we discover it is how many doses in the next shipment. And when will we receive that next dose? So those efforts that are ongoing to organize logistically the ways in which folks locally can receive the vaccine. Those are going on continuously.”
A question came from a caller about the allergic reaction two health care workers in Juneau suffered within minutes of taking the first dose. One needed to be admitted for two nights of observation, and the other’s symptoms cleared up in a few minutes. Both reportedly are still very enthusiastic about the vaccine. Nurse Carroll explained the risk analysis people should consider when deciding whether to get inoculated.
“Vaccines aren't perfect. And as a matter of fact, there's no medication that's perfect. But across all vaccines that you can roughly expect one to two cases of anaphylaxis or severe reaction per million doses of vaccine. And so in the chances of dying from COVID are much higher than that.”
Carroll emphasized that anyone exposed, infected, or just waiting for a test result must take responsibility for not spreading the virus by staying in isolation for a minimum of 10 days.
“Your efforts to stop the transmission of that virus to the next person is really critical. Statistically speaking, most people are going to be okay from COVID infection. But that's not the case with everyone as evidenced by the 180 deaths that we've experienced in Alaska so far,” Carrol said. “So kind of the take home there is hunker down. It's okay to go outside, keep your distance from others and lean into your support systems. You know, for example, folks that can safely drop off food and other items that you need until you can get yourself out of isolation.”