CLEVELAND — Question: A 74-year-old contacted me saying she got an email from her hospital to register which she did, but the vaccine location is across town. So she also registered at nearby pharmacies.
She wanted to know if the hospital calls, is it a smart move to decline to wait for something closer?
Answer: My advice is take the first offer you can, and don’t miss your appointment. With such limited supply, getting a chance to get a vaccine is like winning the lottery. You don’t know where your registration placed you in line so you don’t know how long you have to wait. Jump at the first chance.
Question: I've had several people tell me they're homebound or have mobility issues and asked if someone can bring the vaccine to their home.
Answer: At this time, I'm not aware of any home delivery and I'm not sure it's even possible. For one, these vaccines are fragile and require cold temperature storage. Each vial has about five doses and there's a time limit for when it can be used safely.
Hopefully when the Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines receive emergency use authorization, there may be a better chance of setting some type of home delivery service up, but we'll have to wait and see.
Question: What if you do not have access to the internet?
Answer: I know many of you may not have computers or someone to help get you registered. Here are three options I can give you. Call the United Way’s 211 helpline to get connected to your local health department. University Hospitals set up a voicemail that you can call and give your contact information and someone will call you back to help you register. That number is 216-767-8986. Cleveland Clinic wants you to sign up on MyChart, but if you don’t have access call 216-444-2538.
Question: I've had several emails from people who are concerned about reports of severe allergic reactions and some deaths in Europe.
Answer: For perspective, nearly 55 million people around the world have received a vaccine. Yes, there have been a few dozen allergic reactions, some requiring medical intervention. The CDC says anyone who has an allergy to any ingredient in either vaccine or had a reaction after the first dose, should not get the vaccine. Norway reported 33 deaths, and Germany reported eight. Their health investigators are trying to determine whether it was a direct result of the vaccine. The deaths occurred in people over age 75 and many had terminal illness or severe underlying disease.
Those with allergies can expect to be monitored a minimum of 30 minutes after being vaccinated. Reactions are not unexpected, but so far the situations are rare compared to how many people have been vaccinated and health experts say the risks of COVID outweigh the risk of a possible allergic reaction.
Along those lines, many have asked me if they can sue the vaccine manufacturers if they have a bad reaction. Last year, Congress passed the PREP, known as the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. It limits legal liability relating to treatments and vaccines, which essentially gives the manufacturers immunity from lawsuits. However, the only exception to the PREP act is for death or serious physical injury caused by willful misconduct. And individuals who die or suffer serious injury may be compensated through the countermeasures injury compensation program. We have more information about PREP in the link below.
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