THE VACCINES

 FAST FACTS

  • https://kc-metro-vaccines.mailchimpsites.com/ — a Master’s student from KU has put together a pretty good resource of many of the locations providing COVID vaccines in the KC metro area.
  • Jackson County: https://form.jotform.com/203524953651153

  • Johnson County: https://redcap.jocogov.org/surveys/?s=8KWLNLWWHL

  • Wyandotte County: https://us.openforms.com/Form/f1edcf18-c07b-4efb-ad0d-49ded26c3000

  • We have wrapped up our COVID vaccine distribution here at the clinic; if you are still interested in getting a vaccine, reach out to the resources listed above!

  • The FDA granted “Emergency Use Authorizations” for the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines in December 2020 and February 2021. There very well may be more coming down the road! 

  • The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are “mRNA” vaccines, which code for the inactive, non-infectious spike protein of the virus, tricking your immune system into fighting off these proteins and creating lasting immunity. 

  • The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is a modified adenovirus that has a bit of DNA coding for the coronavirus spike protein.

  • All of the vaccines given EUA thus far are over 80% successful at eliminating severe or lethal COVID-19 infections

  • Herd immunity to COVID will require 80% of the population to get vaccinated, according to Dr. Fauci.  Others add that past infections will also contribute achieving herd immunity.
  • Much of the mistrust of the vaccine is based on a few factors: the speed of development, fear of political/partisan pressure, and pre-existing vaccine hesitancy, all of which is muddled together and amplified across facebook and other social media to create confusion and mistrust. 

A QUICK NOTE ON NEW VACCINE TECHNOLOGY

mRNA vaccines have been in development since 1989. Initially we weren’t very good at making them, but science kept advancing. Moderna (notice it ends in “RNA”) was founded in 2010 to apply this science, and others like Pfizer did as well. Pfizer and Moderna were able to make a COVID vaccine almost immediately because all they had to do was put the mRNA sequence of the virus spike protein into their vaccine already in development, and voila! 

We developed mRNA vaccines against MERS, SARS, and H1N1. None of which made it to the public, not because of safety, but because those germs fizzled out without needing a vaccine (unlike COVID). The SARS and MERS vaccines have 3 years of long-term safety data without major adverse events, and the H1N1 vaccine was developed in 6 months (a similar timeline to our current situation). 

We’re not going to wade into politics, vaccine mistrust, or the history of systemic abuse of minorities by the medical establishment. Don’t get us wrong; all of that is very important in understanding the current situation, but the most important message we have is: trust the process. Trust the expert physicians advising the FDA and CDC, trust the science, and talk with your family and friends about their perceptions of the vaccine. Share this document or other quality information to those that want to learn more about the vaccine. We must vaccinate to end this, the only other way is everyone catches the virus and hundreds of thousands more die. Please get the shot. We would be happy to talk with any of you personally and answer any questions we can. 

 

COMMON QUESTIONS

  • What are the side effects?
  • Minor side effects include injection site pain, body aches, chills, low fevers. This is your body’s immune response to the vaccine, not a sign of infection.  
  • If I had COVID, should I get the vaccine?
  • Yes. We do not think the immunity from infection is long lasting, likely less than a year (at best); we recommend vaccination regardless of prior infection.
  • Should I get antibody testing before getting the vaccine?
  • No. Similar to above, a positive antibody test does not necessarily mean one is immune, there are very frequent false negatives, and the antibodies tested may not be indicative of permanent immunity. The result of an antibody test should not dictate whether or not to get the vaccine.
  • What about children under 16, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised?
  • Speaking generally, pregnant women and certain people with an immunocompromised system should get the vaccine (but we strongly encourage you to reach out to us to have a conversation if you fall into this category). Studies are ongoing regarding extending the vaccine to those younger than 16.
  • Once I get the vaccine, can I stop wearing this mask?!?
  • Not quite yet. Experts recommend continuing to wear a mask even after the vaccine. This is mainly because we do not yet know if vaccinated people can still get infected and shed the virus without symptoms (asymptomatic spread) and because we don’t have a great way to quickly identify those who have been vaccinated and those who haven’t — so until we get to herd immunity, we’re all masking.
  • When will I get a vaccine?
  • Vaccine access/eligibility has opened to all Kansans and Missourians at this point!  Reach out to your local health department for more information.

Please reach out if you have any questions!

The above was last updated April 16, 2021

TESTING & SELF-QUARANTINE

We continue to get outreach from patients about accessing COVID-19 testing and — more importantly — if they should be tested at all.

Let’s talk about whether or not you should be tested first:

  • If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have had prolonged, close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 and you are less than 14 days out from the final vaccine in a COVID-19 vaccine series, your first step should be to self-quarantine (please!) to avoid spreading any illness to others.  People in these situations should be tested.
    • For those with symptoms, we recommend getting tested on day 2-3 of symptoms; before or after may increase the risk of a false negative.
    • We recommend getting tested about 5 days after prolonged, close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, as there is a risk of a false negative if testing is done too soon after exposure.
  • If you have been close to someone who has been close to someone with confirmed COIVD-19, we recommend awaiting the results of your intermediary contact and to — ideally — quarantine until they get their results.  

Regarding how to access testing:

Important!  If you are experiencing any symptoms whatsoever of COVID-19 or have had prolonged contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 and you have not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series, please self-quarantine, continue to practice good hand hygiene, and avoid spreading any illness to others; even if you get a negative test result after going through w/ one of the below tests, the CDC still recommends quarantining for 10 days after symptom onset or for 14 days after exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. We have a limited supply of rapid antigen COVID testing; if the rapid test is negative, we will follow it up with a molecular test (details in the next bullet point). This is only available to current KCDPC members; follow the flow outlined below. Anyone interested in COVID19 testing here at the clinic (turnaround time is about an hour for rapid; 2-14 days for molecular PCR) must first fill out a brief screening questionnaire to gather information about their symptoms (if present), how long they’ve been going on, recent travel, and possible exposure to those who have recent COVID19 diagnoses. Please fill out the questionnaire here.  Once you complete the questionnaire, the confirmation page will give you a link on how to schedule the actual COVID testing & link to FAQs regarding the testing.

There is a $75 visit charge; the (additional) lab fee for molecular, PCR testing can be billed to your insurance or our lab vendor will bill you after the fact for $0-$100.The state/local health departments are ramping up their ability to test (usually at no cost!) but have some stipulations regarding who can be tested (i.e. symptoms, healthcare workers, exposures, etc.):

Regarding ending your quarantine:

  • The CDC has a website that is frequently updated that can give guidance on this subject.  Their recommendations are (updated November 9, 2020):
    • If you (yourself) tested positive for COVID-19, you may end quarantine 10 days after you tested positive or 10 days after the first day of your symptoms so long as your symptoms have resolved and you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours.
    • If you have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the CDC has a helpful website to help you figure out when you can come out of quarantine.  Generally speaking, you should stay home and quarantine for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19

 

CLINIC OPERATIONS

We are happy to announce that all staff and clinicians at KCDPC are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and we’re helping many of you get vaccinated, too!  This has allowed us to open up clinic operations dramatically. Here’s how things are going these days at the clinic:

  • We are continuing to offer phone and virtual visits, just like we always have. For those who have been vaccinated, we are allowing for in-person visits as well.
    • For those who have had an exposure to someone with COVID-19, who have symptoms concerning for COVID-19, or who have not received the full vaccine series for COVID-19, we may recommend a “car visit,” where we perform the elements of the visit in our parking lot while you are in your car. This is to help keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum and to protect all of our patients.  
  • Feel free to email us with any concerns that pop up!
  • We invite phone calls during normal business hours (we do our best to answer all of them — but sometimes we’re with a patient or on the other line; leave a message and we’ll call back)!
  • Your clinician is available evenings and weekends (members only!) by following the voicemail prompts. Please let us know if this system ever gives you an error or doesn’t work (#techfailssometimes). 

Updated April 16, 2021

NEWS & UPDATES

It feels nice to finally be able to say this — but we don’t have any recent news or updates for a change!  We’ve covered everything in the sections above!  As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, feedback, or concerns!

Updated April 16, 2021