COVID VACCINE UPDATE

News Flash: The providers and staff at Family Healthcare have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine! Many of our patients who work in healthcare facilities have been vaccinated as well and at least one has completed the two-shot series. No significant side effects were experienced by any of us.

We are so pleased that the vaccine has reached our community and the first phase of the rollout is nearing completion. Yes, it could have gone smoother and communication from the state and local health departments should have been better, but the rollout is moving and should build momentum soon.

YOUR VACCINE

We wish we had a definitive answer, but you can rest assured that we are working every day to find a vaccine source for our patients. Through contacts at the Virginia and Fairfax County Health Department as well as Inova, we should know as soon as information is available to the medical community. I have personally voiced both my concerns and comments and have even forwarded a detailed proposal to those in charge of the vaccination program. I have made it clear that doctor offices, such as ours, should receive a supply of vaccines because we are best positioned to get vaccines to those at high risk and best prepared to encourage those with reservations about the vaccine to accept the vaccine.

My sources tell me that vaccines may be available to high-risk patients through our office in 4-5 weeks. The vaccine may also be available soon through local pharmacies. We are considering a drive-through vaccination clinic as we did with the flu shots this year. The details will be published as soon as we hear any news about vaccine distribution and availability.

PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS REQUESTING THE COVID VACCINE.

Please do not call or email questions about when you can get the Covid vaccine. We are getting many of these requests and all we can say is- we don’t know. Some patients have read that they should call and get on a list. We do not have such a list. Our practice has compiled a list of priority patients based on the CDC recommendations and will contact each of you when we hear about vaccine availability. When we receive a vaccine supply or learn of a vaccination opportunity available to high-risk patients, you will be the first to know. If you have questions about whether you can safely get the vaccine, send us an email.

HOLIDAY SURGE

People got together socially, families congregated, and the virus spread. Often the source is young people who bring it home to their family and friends. This scenario has been repeated over and over. Everyone must be tested, and everyone must go into isolation. Please do not gather indoors even if everyone feels well because 40-50% of infected patients do not have any symptoms. Keep your contacts as low as possible. Keep your visits short. Keep your masks on. Eat or drink quickly and put your masks back on. High-risk individuals should not be included in these gatherings. This pandemic will last many months more so DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. Go for a walk with friends. Sit around a fire pit or heater outdoors with family. Don’t make us do the NOSE SWAB on you!

Finally, Our beloved receptionist, Vanessa Moir, whom everyone knows and loves, was interviewed by NBC 4 in Washington DC the day she received her COVID vaccine, 12/30/20. Vanessa says she is delighted that scientists have worked so hard to protect people. Click here to watch the interview that begins at 1:16.

Euguene A. Shmorhun, MD

Cathy Tong, FNP