The Covid vaccines are here! As a part of the medical community, our staff has received their first dose. We report varying degrees of arm soreness and are otherwise extremely grateful to have started on the road to immunity. Through vigilance, we have made it this far without anyone on the team becoming ill. Our infection control protocols remain firmly in place despite our vaccination status. So, if you come in for an appointment you will continue to see us practicing strict protection measures, just as we have since March.
The vaccine roll-out seems slower than promised, but at least it’s moving forward. Maryland moved into Phase 1B on Monday, January 18, which widened eligibility to residents 75 and older. The next phase, 1C, includes those over 65 and starts January 25.
You have probably noticed the plans for our area vary widely, by jurisdiction. To find out when and where to get vaccinated, these websites may be helpful to you:
DC: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc or call 856-363-0333
MedStar Health: Current patients who meet the criteria, may be vaccinated by appointment at the four DC Medstar facilities. https://www.medstarhealth.org/mhs/about-medstar/covid-19-vaccine-information/
Important information, if you:
Are Immunocompromised or on immunosuppressive medications: the CDC advises taking the Covid vaccination if there are no contraindications. (see below)
Are on Biologic treatment: Evidence to date suggests that most individuals on biologic treatment can be successfully immunized with no increased incidence of adverse effects.
- Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components*;
- Immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components (including polyethylene glycol [PEG])*;
- Immediate allergic reaction of any severity to polysorbate (due to potential cross-reactive hypersensitivity with the vaccine ingredient PEG)*;
If you have had any of the above, the CDC considers such history to be a contraindication to vaccination with both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
*These persons should not receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccination at this time unless they have been evaluated by an allergist-immunologist and it is determined that the person can safely receive the vaccine (e.g., under observation, in a setting with advanced medical care available).
Cosmetic injectable fillers and the vaccine
There have been a few cases of facial swelling reported in Moderna vaccine trial. The localized swelling resolved itself after treatment with antihistamines or steroids in all three cases. In its report on the Moderna vaccine hearing, the FDA notes that “it is possible the localized swelling in these cases is due to an inflammatory reaction from interaction between the immune response after vaccination and the dermal filler.”
Patients already treated with dermal fillers should not be discouraged or precluded from receiving vaccines of any kind. Similarly, patients who have had vaccines should not be precluded from receiving dermal fillers in the future. Our current recommendation is that you delay filler treatment if you are scheduled for the vaccine within 2 weeks.
Once you do receive the vaccine, you may experience some malaise, soreness at the injection site, and even a mild fever, but these symptoms are transient and typically resolve in 24-48 hours. The symptoms are indicative of your body building immune defenses against the virus. Applying ice in the form of a bag of frozen peas as well as taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen (Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help relieve discomfort.
If you have a reaction, I recommend registering in the CDC’s vaccine symptom tracker at: https://vsafe.cdc.gov/
And last, Inauguration Day Office Hours
Because of anticipated road and bridge closures and disruption in public transportation, we are not seeing patients on Inauguration Day, January 20. However, we will be answering phone calls from 10AM – 3PM.