With the release of vaccine for COVID-19 facing workers over the past few weeks, many are wondering when they may be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Bedford Health Department has prepared the following FAQ’s to address some of our residents’ questions.
Will the Town of Bedford have COVID-19 vaccination clinics?
Yes. Vaccination clinic planning is currently in its final stages, and clinics are expected to begin in the coming weeks. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) will be releasing the vaccine to the Health Department for distribution to the community. The Health Department currently does not have vaccine.
Who can get the vaccine?
The state of Massachusetts through the MA DPH has coordinated a timeline for vaccine eligibility. Right now, the vaccine is only available to those listed in Phase One of the vaccine distribution plan from the Department of Public Health. To view currently eligible groups for vaccination, please navigate to: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/when-can-i-get-the-covid-19-vaccine
When can I get my vaccine?
The Health Department is required to follow Massachusetts state guidance for vaccine distribution and will offer the vaccine at our town sponsored clinics when eligible to begin Phase Two. Currently, Phase Two is expected to begin in February for the first priority group of high-risk individuals with 2+ comorbidities (high risk for COVID-19 complications), individuals 75+, etc. Please see the vaccine distribution timeline plan displayed by clicking the link above.
What is the proposed timeline for each Phase?
Phase 1: December 2020 – February 2021. Phase 2: February – March 2021. Phase 3: Starting April 2021
How will I get specific clinic information?
The Health Department will share information as it becomes available using social media, the Town and Health Department websites and local on-line and print media. Don’t forget to register for “Code Red” (https://www.bedfordma.gov/home/pages/code-red-emergency-notification-system) and Town of Bedford “E-Alerts” (https://www.bedfordma.gov/subscribe) to get updates sent directly to you.
How will I register for COVID vaccination clinics?
Online pre-registration will be required to reserve an appointment time for all clinics. Pre-registration details will be included in all outreach materials. For those without access to the internet, a call-in registration option will be offered. No vaccine will be distributed without an appointment. The registration process will also include a series of pre-vaccination screening questions
What should I expect when I arrive at the clinic?
You will park your car and walk into the clinic which will be held at our usual flu clinic location – John Glenn Middles School, 99 McMahon Road. You will be directed to enter the building in a designated location (by the gym) and you will proceed to the clinic entrance where you will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. You will then proceed to a registration station to confirm your appointment and then be directed to a dispensing station where a trained vaccinator will ask you a few questions and administer your shot.
What vaccine will be distributed?
The Bedford Health Department will likely be distributing the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download) which is made available to those 18 years of age and older, under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration. Learn more about what an EUA means at www.tinyurl/com/EUAExplained.
Receiving the vaccine – what to expect?
The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is a two-dose series, spaced one (1) month apart. The vaccine will be injected into the muscle, like a flu shot. When you receive the vaccine, you should inform your vaccinator about your medical conditions, including if you: have any allergies, have a fever, have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner, are immunocompromised, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, are breastfeeding, or have received another COVID-19 vaccine.
Who should not get the vaccine?
You should not get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine if you have had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine or have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredients of the vaccine, identified on the fact sheet found here: https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download. If you are unsure if you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to medical conditions or adverse reactions, please consult with your primary care provider before receiving the vaccine.
What happens after I receive the vaccine?
Once you are vaccinated, you will receive a vaccination card that you will bring with you when you return for your second dose. You will then be directed to a physically distanced and monitored area to wait out the 15 minute post-vaccination period when most serious side effects would be anticipated to occur. Once the waiting period is up, you are free to leave the clinic.
There are a few things to keep in mind after you receive your first dose of vaccine: 1) Return for your second dose. We will announce subsequent vaccination clinic dates and you can choose a date that most closely aligns with the 28-day return period for the 2nd dose.
While receiving the vaccine is a major step forward in fighting COVID-19, it is important to continue to use protective measures such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands frequently. Please stay tuned for the release of our upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics!