Contact: Sasha Dull
Underneath her mask, Crossing Rivers Health Urgent Care Physician Assistant, Jeanne Tobin, was all smiles as she was the first staff member to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week. Tobin shared, “I got my vaccine to protect friends, family, and our patients. I’ll protect myself to protect you.”
On Tuesday, December 22, Crossing Rivers Health received notification they had been allocated doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. After receiving all necessary supplies, vaccination clinics were able to begin for Crossing Rivers Health staff.
“This COVID-19 pandemic has been a long journey for all of us. A vaccine does not mean that it’s over quite yet, but having the vaccine available to our staff is an exciting turning point in this journey. This will allow us to protect our valuable staff, our patients, and our communities,” shared Jenny Pritchett, Chief Clinical Officer at Crossing Rivers Health. “We strongly recommend and encourage community members to educate themselves on the COVID-19 vaccine, which is the type of COVID-19 vaccine currently available.”
Many vaccines introduce a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies, however, that is not true for mRNA vaccines. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine utilizes messenger RNA which teaches cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects the body from getting infected if the real virus enters.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions, or messenger RNA, are inside the immune system cells, the body’s cells use them to make the protein needed for building an immune response to the virus. The immune system recognizes that the protein doesn’t belong there, and begins making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19. At the end of the process, the body has learned how to protect against future infection.
According to the Food & Drug Administration, efforts to speed vaccine development have not sacrificed scientific standards, the integrity of the vaccine review process, or safety. To obtain full immunity and provide the best protection, two shots of the vaccine are needed. The first shot primes the immune system and the second shot strengthens the immune response.
In anticipation of the vaccine being available to the public, Crossing Rivers Health strongly encourages community members to research the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. Pritchett noted, “We will coordinate with the public health department to make announcements when the vaccine will be offered to the public. We strongly urge community members to continue wearing a mask in public, hand washing, and physical distancing while we await the vaccine, and even after vaccination.”
For more information about the vaccine and COVID-19 testing, visit www.crossingrivers.org/covid