Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine
All Nevadans age 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine effective Monday, April 5, 2021. We encourage all patients to make an appointment through a pharmacy or vaccination site as soon as possible.
We receive limited doses of the vaccine from the Southern Nevada Health District and are notifying our senior patients through a direct outreach campaign. Seniors will receive a survey asking if they wish to receive the vaccine, and if they opt to participate, will receive a call from our care team to get scheduled in one of our clinic locations.
The COVID-19 vaccine may also be offered by other community partners based on state guidelines and appointment including:
The COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies will be procured and distributed by the federal government at no cost to Intermountain, payers, or patients.
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all best practices available to help stop the pandemic. Until we reach herd immunity and different health guidelines are provided, you must continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands often.
The safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccinations have not been assessed in people less than 16 years of age. Clinical trials are currently underway for pediatric patients.
Depending on the type of vaccine you’re receiving, the wait time between the first and second dose will be scheduled anywhere from 21 to 28 days apart. Patients must get their second COVID-19 vaccine at the same place they received their first vaccination. Both appointments must be scheduled at the same facility unless directed otherwise by an Intermountain Healthcare caregiver.
Safety and Effectiveness
Safety is Intermountain’s top priority. We will only implement vaccines that are FDA authorized or approved.
General vaccine side effects include mild symptoms (slight pain, swelling, or redness at the site of injection; mild fever; chills; feeling tired; headache; and muscle and joint aches). Listed on the CDC website are vaccines licensed in the United States and side effects that have been associated with each of them.
Immunity is established two weeks after the second dose. Further studies are being conducted to better understand how long the vaccination offers immunity from COVID-19.
If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 after receiving the first dose, they must be cleared from isolation. For an extra level of precaution at Intermountain, they must wait 90 days before receiving the second dose.
The CDC has concluded “people who are pregnant and part of a group recommend to receive the coronavirus vaccine, such as health care personnel, may choose to be vaccinated. The CDC also states that “mRNA (Moderna) vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant.”
The CDC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other national organizations have partnered to form an Operation Warp Speed (OWS) initiative to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine program safely. OWS is taking processes for vaccine development, evaluation, and approval that normally take years and compressing them into months, by running these processes at the same time rather than in sequential steps. OWS began manufacturing the vaccine while running the phase 3 trials, before knowing vaccine effectiveness. If the vaccine turns out to be effective and the FDA approves, vaccines will be ready to use immediately upon approval by the FDA. Vaccines not proven effective won’t be approved or allowed to use.
Vaccines will need to be at least 50% effective (reduces the risk of infection by one half) for it to be granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Another way to say this is: you are half as likely to become infected compared to those who are not vaccinated. Any level of effectiveness can help slow the spread. Because we don’t yet know how effective the vaccines are and for how long, individuals will need to continue all other prevention methods including masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that have been granted EUAs are both around 95% effective.
Vaccines help the body develop immunity by training the immune system to recognize and remember how to respond to the disease-causing part of a virus. Vaccines traditionally contain either weakened or inactivated (killed) viruses or purified, signature proteins of viruses. In the COVID-19 response, some manufacturers are making vaccines in new ways, using messenger RNA (mRNA).
mRNA is genetic material that encodes the signature proteins of the viruses. These genetic instructions are injected into the person rather than the viral protein itself. mRNA vaccines use only what is needed to guide immune system response and development of antibodies, so if and when the body is exposed to the actual virus, the immune system knows how to respond and protect the individual from getting sick or from getting very sick.
Individuals should not be vaccinated while they have any active illness. They should hold on vaccinating until they are recovered and feeling well. At Intermountain, we recommend 90 days post COVID-19 illness. We don’t know how long immunity or antibodies to the COVID-19 virus will last, and recommend individuals vaccinate for COVID-19 even if they were previously infected.