LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) — The following is a news release from Covenant Health:
Since the arrival of our first allotment of COVID-19 vaccine on December 15, Covenant Health is proud to announce we have given more than 12,000 doses to caregivers, frontline workers, and a few of our most vulnerable patients.
As of [Monday, January 25] , the state of Texas has allocated about 26,000 doses to the Covenant Health system and we expect to receive about 100 additional doses sometime this week. Every single dose has been given or committed to someone in Phase 1A or 1B. We will continue to request doses from the state, but not all of our requests are fulfilled, and allotments are sporadic and unpredictable.
When administering the COVID-19 vaccine, Covenant Health closely follows the criteria set by the state and only allocates doses to those who fall under Phase 1A and 1B. Phase 1A includes health care workers and residents at long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes people over the age of 65 or those over the age of 16 with chronic conditions or those with severe illnesses like cancer, type II diabetes, or heart conditions.
Health care workers vaccinated include Covenant Health caregivers who chose to be vaccinated, as well as those community health care facilities like dental offices, Star ER and Trustpoint Rehabilitation Hospital of Lubbock.
Our primary care physicians with Covenant Medical Group and Grace Clinic were able to vaccinate a few of their most vulnerable patients who met criteria under Phase 1B.
We have been working closely with partners like the City of Lubbock and United Supermarkets to ensure best practices and prevent a duplication of efforts to provide the vaccine to our community.
We encourage you to monitor the news channels and social media for updates from the City of Lubbock Health Department regarding availability of additional vaccines that will be distributed at the Lubbock Civic Center. To support their efforts, Covenant Health will be providing caregiver volunteers to the city’s vaccination clinic.
The health and well-being of our community is our highest priority. The COVID-19 vaccine was determined safe and highly effective in preventing COVID-19 by the FDA. At Covenant Health, we carefully reviewed the data prior to making it available at our ministries.
Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine was designed to protect the body from contracting the virus or to limit the severity of the disease should you contract it. We know from other diseases and their vaccines that we can slow or stop the spread of disease when roughly 60 to 80 percent of a population gets vaccinated. A vaccine can limit the spread of the disease by helping to protect you and those around you. This shot is our best shot at stopping COVID-19.
We are thrilled to see the excitement and enthusiasm from our community in getting the vaccine. We know many still have several questions about the vaccine. Please see the attached page for more frequently asked questions and answers.
We also want to encourage our community to continue safe practices like good hand hygiene, socially distancing, and properly wearing their mask in appropriate settings.
ANSWERS TO COVID-19 VACCINE FAQs – AS OF JANUARY 25, 2021
1) Why should I trust the COVID-19 vaccine? Everyone should get the COVID-19 vaccine for the common good of our families, friends, colleagues, and communities. The long-term risks associated with COVID-19 far outweigh the mild side effects of the vaccine. Ultimately the COVID-19 vaccine can help save lives and strengthen your community.
2) What side effects are people experiencing from the vaccine? Data suggests that a relatively small number of people will experience side effects, which may be more common after the second vaccination dose. Common side effects include pain and swelling in the arm where the shot is administered, and could include fever, chills, fatigue and/or headache.
3) Will I contract COVID-19 if I get the vaccine? No, you will not contract the COVID-19 virus by receiving either dose of the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine uses messenger RNA to teach your immune system how to recognize and fight off the virus, should you come into contact with it. The vaccine does not include live virus and therefore cannot cause an infection.
The vaccines currently available in the U.S. require two doses – the first dose starts building protection and the second (separated by a 3-4weeks, depending on the manufacturer) strengthens the vaccine’s protection. According to the CDC, the vaccination process may cause some symptoms, such as a pain at the injection site, fatigue or a fever. These symptoms are generally mild and temporary, and an indication that the immune system is doing its job.
4) How does the COVID-19 vaccine work? Vaccines allow the body to produce an immune response (e.g., antibodies), which help you to fight the virus should you come into contact with it. After getting vaccinated, you develop some level of immunity to that disease. The COVID-19 vaccine may be like a flu shot in that you may need to get it annually.
5) What is an mRNA vaccine? Messenger RNA or mRNA vaccines – found in two COVID-19 vaccine candidates – help to protect against infectious diseases. mRNA teaches our cells how to trigger an immune response. This immune response produces antibodies that help protect us from getting infected, if we come into contact with the COVID-19 virus. mRNA vaccines are held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as other types of vaccines in the U.S. and cannot give you
COVID-19 or affect or interact with your DNA. Understanding mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (CDC)
6) Was the vaccine tested on people of color and indigenous populations? Yes. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine trials had participants of Black, Hispanic, indigenous, and Asian descent. The goal of any vaccine trial is to ensure that as much of the general population as possible is represented. Moderna and Pfizer have each published the racial makeup of vaccine testing participants.
7) How were the COVID-19 vaccines made available so quickly? How can I have confidence that the vaccine is safe? Vaccines are tightly regulated in the U.S. and go through a rigorous evaluation process to ensure safety and efficacy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a strict protocol that outlines very specific safety, effectiveness and study requirements for drug and vaccine manufacturers to follow. These requirements must be met to pursue approval, even on a limited, emergency use basis.
When there is an emergency, such as a global pandemic, the FDA can issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) to provide more timely access to critical medical interventions when there are no other available alternatives.
Available COVID-19 vaccines have been determined safe and highly effective in preventing COVID-19 by the FDA. To further reassure the public, additional precautions were taken to validate the vaccines’ safety and efficacy. For example, Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada formed the “Western States Pact,” an independent group of medical experts assembled to confirm vaccine safety and efficacy. Both COVID-19 vaccines available today received the green light from this group (Dec. 12 and Dec. 20 findings), following FDA emergency use authorization.
8) Do I have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine? The COVID-19 vaccine is free at this time. The state of Texas has made this vaccine available to all without having to pay. Note: There may be an administrative fee charged by your provider.
9) Why do I need to wear a mask and socially distance after getting the vaccine? Vaccines are an important line of defense against this highly contagious virus. We know that on average, one person with COVID-19 can infect another 2.5 people. Research is still being conducted on whether or not a vaccinated person can spread the virus. A COVID-19 vaccine in combination with other measures such as wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, and social distancing is the best way to protect yourself and those around you?
10 )Does COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility or issues in pregnant women? There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine affects or harms fertility in women. Women who are pregnant can decide to get the vaccine when they become eligible to receive it. It’s recommended that pregnant women discuss their options with a health care provider, so that they can make decisions that are right for them.
11) Why are members of multigenerational homes prioritized for the vaccine? Those who live in multigenerational households (a home where individuals from two or more generations reside, like a grandparent and a grandchild) are disproportionally affected by COVID-19. The CDC has expanded vaccine prioritization to ensure these vulnerable members of our community are protected from the virus.
12) Will I be asked my immigration status if I get the vaccine? No. Our patients are never asked about their citizenship or legal status in order to receive medically necessary care. Covenant sees health care as a fundamental human right, not a privilege. We serve members of our communities without regard to legal or socioeconomic status and believe that everyone deserves quality health care. As a Mission-driven organization, we have a special focus on those who are most vulnerable and know immigrants, undocumented or not, face unique challenges. Our medical facilities are a sanctuary for all in need of healing, and a safe place where everyone can expect to be treated with compassion and respect.
13) Does Covenant Health provide care to undocumented immigrants? Yes. We believe that every person has a right to quality health care. We are focused on helping everyone access quality, compassionate care, especially for those who are most vulnerable and regardless of their legal status.
14) Will I be asked about my citizenship in order to receive care at your hospitals? No. Our patients are never asked about their citizenship or legal status in order to receive medically necessary care.
15) Do you report patients’ legal status to Immigration and Customs Enforcement? No, we do not report patients’ personal information, including legal status, to ICE or other enforcement authorities. We treat our patients’ citizenship status as confidential. Our medical facilities are a sanctuary for all in need of healing, and a safe place where everyone can expect to be treated with compassion and respect.
Our Notice of Privacy Practices explains the ways that we use and disclose medical information for purposes related to treatment, payment, and our internal operations. Generally, we must obtain the patient’s written authorization prior to using or disclosing medical information for other purposes, as described in this Notice.
16) Should I be worried about Immigration and Customs Enforcement at your hospitals? Enforcement agents do not have access to patient care areas and may not conduct enforcement activity on our campuses, clinics, or hospitals.
17) What is V-safe? V-safe is a smart-phone-based tool developed by the CDC where vaccine recipients can voluntarily report side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine. The tool also provides participants a reminder to receive their second dose of the vaccine. Signing up for V-safe is completely voluntary, and the information in the tool is only used by the CDC to track adverse side effects.
18)Why should I trust V-safe to track any vaccine side effects? Use of the V-safe tool is completely voluntary. All information provided is only used by the CDC to track adverse side effects.
About Covenant Health:
Covenant Health has served for more than 100 years as the only faith-based, clinically integrated health network in the West Texas, eastern New Mexico region providing a Christian healing ministry. Covenant’s network includes eight hospitals, more than 1,000 licensed beds, more than 6,000 caregivers, nearly 100 primary care providers, and a medical staff of more than 600 physicians at its cornerstone facilities. To learn more about Covenant Health, please visit covenanthealth.org or our Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, pages.
(News release from Covenant Health)