Community and COVID Vaccines

covid covid-19 vaccines

Dear CFP Community,
Last week, the practitioners and staff at CFP were given the opportunity to get our first Covid vaccines as members of the medical community. I have to say, I was not expecting that my response would be to burst into tears of relief, hope, joy, so many feelings that have been pent up and put in a box on the shelf for the last year. I felt like I had won the lottery!  All of us who were able to, had our sleeve rolled up and our first dose of the Pfizer vaccine administered within an hour of notification to us that extra doses for medical personnel in the community were available. This vaccine requires two doses before immunity becomes likely. The second vaccine about to be distributed is the Moderna vaccine, which also requires two doses. These vaccines have received “EUA” Emergency Use Authorization.
I, like many of you, have been cautious about vaccines. Thirty-five to forty years ago, I did  alternative vaccine schedules for my children, and only selective vaccines. I have not been someone who gets a flu shot every year. But this vaccine is different. This virus kills and maims young and old, but especially our most vulnerable citizens, the poor, the old, the sick. It is wickedly effective at spreading. It has bankrupted many through medical bills, killed small businesses, robbed our children of school, made our front line and health care workers risk their lives to feed and care for all of us.
The practitioners at Central Family want you all to know that we believe that this vaccine is key to our community healing and thriving in the years to come. This virus has taken so much from us already. As always we believe in personal choice, but also in collective responsibility to our community, our patients, and ourselves.
Soon, the vaccines will be offered to the community by categories of vulnerability. You can go to this first link to stay abreast of the plan for our community as it gets rolled out. The second link shows the CDC’s recommendations on who to prioritize vaccinating initially.
Eventually, we will have a COVID vaccine to offer at CFP just like we now have flu vaccines, but initially the vaccine is going to pharmacies and medical offices that have the capacity to vaccinate large numbers of people rapidly. The vaccine lifespan, once distributed to medical sites, is very short and no doses can afford to be wasted!  In addition to the above link that you can follow for the community roll out, we will email as details become available to us about where you can go to get vaccinated.
Until the vaccine has been offered to everyone, it is important, especially in the next few weeks after the holidays, to remember that masks, social distancing and hand washing remain the simple and effective tools that we have to protect ourselves and everyone we come into contact with.
For information on COVID testing sites through the health department go here: https://austintexas.gov/covid-testinfo
Additionally, there are many other testing sites now, including through pharmacies and urgent care facilities. Times and tests vary, places carrying them have websites that tell you what tests they offer and online access to appointments so you don’t have to sit onf hold on a phone call to find this out or book an appt.
If you are interested in following our community’s statistics on COVID, this is a useful site: https://austintexas.gov/page/covid-19-dashboards
We would like to thank Dr. John Abikhaled for all of his work in our community from the start of this pandemic through the beginning stages of vaccination and to congratulate him on the superb job he has done as Travis County Medical Society President. We wish him well as he passes the torch to the next TCMS President.
And if you somehow missed his public service message about how to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, take a look at the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsnRhUFCA9w&t=4s .
We hope that the new year will be brighter than the last. What this virus has reminded us is how important family and friends, relationships and caring for each other in difficult times is to the fabric of our society.
Air hugs to all!
Connie

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