By Hannah Sullivan
I started serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) in August of 2020. As the end of my service year now quickly approaches, I have been taking time to reflect on my experiences.
COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout – The Early Days
Easily the most exciting event over the past year was the Emergency Use Authorization and subsequent rollout procedure of an effective COVID-19 vaccine (well, technically three vaccines). When this process began in December, it was elating to think that life could potentially return to “normal,” but daunting to ponder the logistics of the mass distribution effort. The biggest challenge during this phase was trying to balance efficiency with equity. It was imperative to vaccinate as many people as possible while working to provide opportunities for people who had been most impacted already by the pandemic, and those facing barriers to access the vaccine. For example, a clinic with 1,000 appointment slots could fill within minutes if it was posted on the JCPH website, but it would be filled by folks with access to the internet, time, and flexibility. To make 1,000 calls and register people without computers would take many more resources.
Since the first COVID-19 vaccines became available, healthcare professionals, community workers, and politicians alike have been urging anyone eligible for a vaccine to get one. With cases still circulating in the U.S. and new variants threatening to worsen conditions, mass vaccination appears to be the best way out of the pandemic.
There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), approved through Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States. So far, over 2.3 million total vaccines have been administered in the country as of April 27, 2021.The most recently approved vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, was approved on February 27th, 2021, for all adults (18+).
By Ellie Dullea
Healthcare workers play an essential role as trusted vaccine advocates in the community. In a 2017 survey of 400+ Colorado parents, medical doctors were found to be the most influential factor in parents’ plan for their children’s immunizations. Similarly, immunization providers will play a vital role in increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates by easing patient concerns about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and offering strong recommendations for vaccination.
Guest Post by Angie Anderson
A year ago, no one could have imagined how different the world would be today. Pandemic life is hard: lock downs, capacity restrictions, masks, school shutdowns and online learning, and the worst part—climbing death counts. With a husband who works in the COVID-19 unit of the ICU, I realize how debilitating and potentially deadly a severe case of COVID-19 can be. I don’t want to get this virus and I don’t want to contribute to community spread either. For all these reasons, my family is anxiously awaiting a safe and effective vaccine, which is why I jumped at the chance to participate in a vaccine trial. Read more