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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

If you are coming to one of our offices, please come inside with your mask on. Each office has a greeter who will meet you at the entrance to complete a temperature check and COVID screening. If you are not feeling well, waiting on a COVID test result, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please call our office ahead of time so we can give you proper instructions. We encourage you to check in ahead of time using the Epion link that you may receive shortly after scheduling your appointment. We ask for your patience as these additional safety measures can alter wait times.

CCHS Curbside Care
We are committed to caring for you in the safest way possible. For this reason, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or exposure may be seen through Curbside Care, phone visits, or video visits. Please call ahead to schedule ALL appointments. Walk-ins are not guaranteed to be seen at this time. We have the ability to perform rapid and send-out COVID-19 tests for people if indicated.

CCHS Family Practice Care
We are happy to see you in our offices for certain appointments if you are feeling well and have had no exposure to COVID-19. Video visits are a great way to connect with your primary care provider for your health care needs in the safety of your own home. With your smartphone, tablet, or computer you can press on a link sent by athenaTelehealth to start your visit. Call your CCHS location to schedule your in-office or video visit.

CCHS Pediatric Care
Easton Pediatrics is now re-open for all of your child’s medical needs. We are offering well-child and sick visits for patients of all ages. All pediatric providers are also offering video visits. Rapid and send-out curbside COVID-19 testing is available as indicated for symptoms or after exposure. Call your CCHS location to schedule your child’s appointment.

CCHS Dental Care
In addition to urgent and emergent dental care, we are now offering additional dental services for pediatric and adult patients in all of our locations. To ensure we are providing safe care, we are temporarily limited with the procedures that we can offer. Please call us so we can discuss your dental needs and schedule an appointment.

Vaccine FAQs

Why should I get vaccinated? expand arrow

There are three main reasons to get vaccinated:

  1. The vaccine is safe and will help keep you from getting COVID-19.
    • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 after you get two doses.
    • All COVID-19 vaccines in development must be evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
    • Under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the vaccine, the known and potential benefits of the vaccine must outweigh its known and potential risks. Watch a video on what an EUA is.
  2. If you do get COVID, you may have a much less severe case.
    • COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications. There’s no way to know how it will affect you.
    • Data from early clinical trials lead experts to believe that getting the COVID-19 vaccine may keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get the disease. This is also consistent with what we know about vaccines for other types of diseases.
    • Clinical studies show that the vaccine provides 94%+ immunity against COVID-19. This provides significant protection, though there is a small chance you could still get it. The vaccine may help make your symptoms much less severe if you do.
  3. Vaccination is an important tool to stop the pandemic, stabilize the economy, and get back to normal.
    • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
    • Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. However, there have been instances of re-infection. It is not known how long natural immunity lasts.
    • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness.

About the Vaccine

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19? expand arrow

No. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any active virus. Instead, it relies on mRNA as outlined in the previous question.

It is possible to get COVID-19 after being vaccinated before your body has time to build up immunity. That is why it is important to continue to practice physical distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently.

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine will I test false positive on a COVID-test? expand arrow

No, the vaccine will not cause you to test positive on a viral test for COVID, which tests for current infection.

How does the vaccine work? expand arrow

COVID-19 vaccines rely on mRNA, also known as messenger RNA. Most of what has been learned about mRNA vaccines is the result of decades of research into other diseases.

COVID mRNA vaccines give instructions for your cells to make a harmless copy of the “spike” protein found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. Your body then builds an antibody response to this replica protein. Here’s how that works:

  • Your cells make the copy of the spike protein
  • Your cells break down the mRNA into harmless pieces
  • Your immune system recognizes the spike protein as an invader and produces antibodies against it
  • If the antibodies later encounter the actual virus, they are ready to recognize and destroy it before it causes illness

The vaccine DOES NOT contain SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 virus. Therefore, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Can I spread COVID-19 to others after the vaccine? expand arrow

No vaccine is 100% effective, so it is important to continue to take steps to avoid spreading the virus. Stopping a pandemic requires using all tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, getting a COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

How long does it take to build up immunity after getting vaccinated? expand arrow

It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until two weeks after your second shot. So, it is important to continue to be very careful after receiving your first shot.

What is the effectiveness of the vaccine? expand arrow

Based on evidence from the clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 94.1%  and Pfizer vaccine 95%  as effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses, who had no evidence of being previously infected.

Which vaccines are being used? expand arrow

Currently tow vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent CVID-19; Moderna vaccine and Pfizer vaccine. www.pfizer.com

Why are two shots necessary? expand arrow

From what we know so far, it’s likely that one shot isn’t as effective as two shots and immunity doesn’t last as long with only one shot. This means that if you just get one shot, you could still get sick with COVID-19. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were developed and studied using two shots, and we know that they are both extremely effective — 94% and 95% respectively — at preventing COVID-19 if two shots are received.

Will the vaccine do anything to my DNA? expand arrow

No. At no point does the mRNA enter the cell’s nucleus, which is where our genetic material (DNA) lives.

Therefore, the vaccine cannot alter a person’s DNA.

Safety & Who Should and Shouldn’t Get the Vaccine

What about kids? expand arrow

Considering COVID infection tends to be much less severe in children, they were not included in the initial priority groups for study. However, both Pfizer and Moderna have begun new clinical trials including children as young as age 12. As a result, the vaccine may be available to children in the future, if the data shows that it is safe and effective.

What ages is the vaccine available for? expand arrow

The Moderna vaccine is approved for use in adults 18 and older and  the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 16 years old and older.

What if I’ve had COVID-19 previously or received COVID-related treatments? expand arrow

Even if you’ve had COVID-19 before, you should get vaccinated to ensure you are as protected as possible. However, you should wait until you are recovered from the acute illness of COVID-19 and criteria have been met to discontinue isolation. The CDC notes that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection and that if desired, you can delay vaccination during that 90-day period. However, it is not recommended that you delay.

If you get COVID-19 after your first dose, you are still recommended to get your second dose on schedule, or as soon as you are well and released from quarantine.

If you received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of your treatment for COVID-19, delay for 90 days after treatment and consult with your primary care provider before getting vaccinated.

More detailed information can be found here.

What if I’m pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding? expand arrow

Medical associations are recommending the vaccine for women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or undergoing fertility treatment. There is no recommendation to withhold the vaccine from patients who are pregnant or breast feeding.

These expert recommendations come from the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).

There is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of COVID-19 vaccination administration. These types of vaccines are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies.

There is no data that shows any impact on sperm quality or male fertility after COVID-19 vaccination.

Learn more: ACOG article here and ASRM article here.

If you’re still feeling unsure, we recommend you talk with your primary care provider or OB-GYN.

The vaccine was developed really fast – is it safe? expand arrow

Yes, the vaccine is safe.  The use of mRNA technology made it much faster to develop and produce the vaccine. Because there is no “live” virus in the vaccine, pharmaceutical companies did not need to grow large amounts of the virus in a lab setting to use in the vaccine. This saved a lot of time.

Another reason that the vaccine was able to be developed so quickly simply has to do with resources. Never in history have there been so many research scientists in every corner of the globe working on a vaccine for one disease. Governments around the world and the private sector have made huge investments of money to support that research.

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available. Vaccines undergo a series of rigorous clinical trials using thousands of study participants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses this data to determine their safety and effectiveness to approve or authorize for emergency use. Following approval or authorization, many vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for adverse events or possible side effects. Visit the CDC’s website for more information about ensuring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. — including information about specific vaccine monitoring systems.

Who should NOT get the vaccine? expand arrow

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction*—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer).

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction*—even if it was not severe—after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get another dose of the vaccine.

*An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).

Do not get the vaccine if you are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and/or polysorbate. Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

Vaccine Availability

Do you have enough vaccine? expand arrow

Vaccine is in limited supply across the country and the world. No local government is receiving as much vaccine as they want. Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot Counties will continue to request the maximum amount of vaccine that they think they can quickly and safely administer. However, the  ability to complete a phase and move to the next will depend on how much vaccine is received and on what schedule – something we generally don’t find out until a day or two before the vaccine shipment arrives.

If I don’t get vaccinated when I first become eligible, will I have another chance? expand arrow

Absolutely, as the counties continue a phase and move on to the next, anyone who was in a previous phase but who did not get vaccinated is still eligible.

If I don’t want the vaccine but I am eligible, can I give my spot to someone in my family who isn’t eligible yet? expand arrow

No, you cannot “give” your spot to anyone else. Unless someone is eligible for the current phase, they cannot receive a vaccine.

When can I get the vaccine? expand arrow

The State of MD is currently in Phase 1A & 1B of the State of Maryland’s established vaccine tiers. 1C will begin on January 26th.   All distribution is contingent on vaccine availability.

Phase 1A includes:

  • Font line hospital staff and health care workers
  • Nursing home residents and staff
  • First responders: law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS clinicians
  • All licensed, registered, and certified health care providers
  • Correctional health care staff and officers
  • Front line judiciary staff

Phase 1B includes:

  • Assisted living, other congregate settings
  • Adults age 75 and older
  • Education (including daycare providers)
  • Continuity of government

Full information on the State’s vaccine plan can be found here.

Who determines the priority groups? expand arrow

The priority groups have been established by the State of Maryland. Full information on the State’s vaccine plan can be found here.

How to Sign Up to Be Vaccinated

How will I know when it is my turn? expand arrow

County Health Departments will let the public know.

www.carolinehd.org
www.dorchsterhealth.org
www.talbothealth.org

You can also find information at www.marylandvax.org

Choptank Patients will be contacted by their provider. You can also follow Choptank on social media for current information.

profile, including listing all members of your household and their month and year of birth.  Most vaccine phases are defined by age. This is information the County does not have without your Smart911 profile. So while you may see public notifications, you would need to register within Smart911 to receive direct notification based on your age.

Getting Vaccinated

How will I be notified when it is time for my second shot and how do I sign up? expand arrow

The location where you received the first vaccination will provide instructions.

What side effects might I experience? expand arrow

You may experience some effects after being vaccinated. Generally, these mean that your body’s immune system is doing its job.

Side effects that have been reported with the Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine include:

  • Injection site reactions: pain, tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection, swelling (hardness), and redness
  • General side effects: fatigue, headache, chills, and fever

There is a remote chance that the Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine. For this reason, your vaccination provider may ask you to stay at the place where you received your vaccine for monitoring after vaccination. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over your body
  • Dizziness and weakness
Why do I still have to wear a mask and social distance after being vaccinated? expand arrow

No vaccine is 100% effective. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, getting a COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Why is a second shot so important? expand arrow

The vaccines were studied with a two-shot regimen and have proven to be highly effective if two shots are given. If you only get one shot, you are not getting the full protection of the vaccine.

Generally, when a vaccine requires two shots, the first shot helps your body recognize the virus and gets your immune system ready, while the second shot strengthens that immune response. This makes your body more prepared to fight infection.

Additional Information

The following resources provide additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine:

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Moderna Vaccine Information Site
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html
State of Maryland COVID Vaccine Information Site
AARP’s What to Know About Coronavirus Vaccines Site
Mayo Clinic’s COVID Facts Website