COVID-19 Vaccination Process
Central Valley Occupational Medical Group and its clinics are working with your local Public Health Department to help provide the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available by the Health Department under their guidelines and instructions.
If you are in the appropriate group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please fill out our registration form. We would then contact you and/or your group to schedule you for vaccination. Please bring photo ID and your insurance card/information with you for vaccination.
Contact us at any of our Central Valley Occupational Medical Centers located in Central California if you would like any more information on receiving this important vaccination. Below, we will address some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
What Is an EUA and How Is It Different from FDA Approval?
An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is the method by which The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can expedite access to a treatment or vaccine in an emergency situation, such as a global pandemic. The FDA will issue an EUA when time is of the essence and there are no alternative treatments available. All treatments authorized under and EUA must meet certain safety and effectiveness thresholds before they can become available for public use. An EUA can clear a vaccine for general use in a matter of weeks rather than months or years. EUA approval is a temporary status because it only remains in effect until the emergency is declared over. Obtaining EUA clearance requires less data than does standard FDA approval but treatments are eligible for standard approval when more data becomes available. Remdesivir is an example of a drug to treat COVID-19 that recently went through the EUA process and now has FDA approval.
What Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Review and Approval Process Look Like?
The COVID-19 vaccine review and approval process is a strict and rigorous evaluation protocol that is administered by the FDA. Even if the approval is only for limited, emergency use, drug manufacturers must prove that their treatments meet the FDA’s safety and effectiveness benchmarks before they are approved to distribute the treatment to doctors and their patients. The process involves boards of FDA-appointed experts who review data about the drug or vaccine at various checkpoints. These review boards have the power to halt or delay a treatment’s approval if they determine a need to further evaluate its safety or effectiveness. If the treatment is ready for approval, they can grant it EUA to provide timely access to critically-needed medical interventions. The FDA will not grant an EUA until at least half of all vaccine study participants have been tracked for at least two months.
What Is an mRNA Vaccine?
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are a method of protecting against infectious diseases. mRNA in the vaccine trains our cells to trigger an immune response in the presence of a harmful virus, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. Patients who are effectively immune to a virus will produce antibodies to help prevent infection when they come into contact with it. mRNA vaccines are a relatively new kind of vaccine but they are held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as other types of vaccines approved by the FDA.
Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe and Effective?
The United States’ own Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found the approved COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective for emergency use. The data shows that the vaccine will prevent the spread of COVID-19 by immunizing patients against infection. Health agencies and drug administrations in other countries, including Canada and Great Britain, have arrived at similar conclusions regarding the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
What Are the Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine?
All vaccines carry some small risk of side effects. In order to be approved for use, these side effects must be less serious than the disease itself. The COVID-19 vaccine may cause mild to moderate symptoms in some people.
Mild Side Effects from COVID-19 Vaccine
- Pain at injection site
- Possible risk of allergic reaction
Who Will Have Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine First?
The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in phases for maximum impact. The first phase of immunizations will include certain high-risk health care workers, patients and residents in long-term care facilities. Future phases will be composed of those members of the workforce whom public health officials have determined have the highest risk of exposure, based on role and work location. Public health authorities indicate that it will be made available to the broader population over time and as vaccine supply increases.
Will Caregivers Be Required to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine, When Eligible?
No. Currently, no one in the U.S. is required to be vaccinated. We strongly recommend that all caregivers get vaccinated as soon as possible, however. Caregivers of all kinds are vitally important to containing and irradicating COVID-19. Only with a fully vaccinated workforce will we finally be able to stop this deadly, highly contagious virus. Like masks, good hygiene and other preventive measures, the COVID-19 vaccine will limit the spread of COVID-19 by helping to protect you and those around you.
How Will I Know When I’m Eligible to Get the Vaccine?
Caregivers of all kinds will be prioritized when it comes to the initial phases of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. We are certain that every frontline worker will soon receive their first round of vaccinations. Supplies of the vaccine are still quite limited, however, so we encourage you to begin the process today. Please fill out our registration form to initiate your immunization with Central Valley Occupational Medical Centers located in Central California today. Contact us to learn more.
What Are the Benefits of Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine, When Available?
The purpose of any vaccine is to protect the population from the spread of deadly and contagious diseases like COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine will immunize most of those who receive it from being infected by the virus. We know from other diseases and their vaccines that we can slow or stop the spread of disease when roughly 60% to 80% of a population gets vaccinated. A vaccine can limit the spread of the disease by helping to protect you and those around you.
How Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Work?
Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine will help grant those who receive it a certain level of immunity from infection by the coronavirus. Vaccination conditions your body to produce antibodies as a defense when you come into contact with a disease. Antibodies are your body’s best defense against infection. A COVID-19 vaccine may be like a flu shot in that you may need to get it annually or in more than one dose to maintain protection. We hope to know more about the COVID-19 vaccine soon.
Do I Still Have to Wear a Mask If I’ve Gotten the Vaccine?
Caregivers and those who will be in prolonged contact with people in vulnerable populations should still wear a mask and take other precautions to help protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19. Until we are absolutely sure that we have the virus’ spread under control, it is important that everyone remains vigilant even if they have already gotten the vaccine.
How Can I Stay Informed on COVID-19 Updates in Southern California?
Stay informed by checking the Central Valley Occupational website regularly. We encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have. If you are in the appropriate group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please fill out the attached registration form.
Email Registration Form to:
- Kaur, S. P., & Gupta, V. (2020). COVID-19 Vaccine: A comprehensive status report. Virus Research, 288, 198114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virusres.2020.198114
- Walsh, E. E., Frenck, R. W., Falsey, A. R., Kitchin, N., Absalon, J., Gurtman, A., Lockhart, S., Neuzil, K., Mulligan, M. J., Bailey, R., Swanson, K. A., Li, P., Koury, K., Kalina, W., Cooper, D., Fontes-Garfias, C., Shi, P.-Y., Türeci, Ö., Tompkins, K. R., … Gruber, W. C. (2020). Safety and Immunogenicity of Two RNA-Based Covid-19 Vaccine Candidates. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(25), 2439–2450. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa2027906