CHI Provides Its First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines to Its Frontline Workers & Elderly.

(L) Maria Caba, patient care technician at CHI, receives the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Doris Ison Health Center. (R) Sharon Green, nurse, prepares to administer the vaccine.

Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) began administering the first COVID-19 vaccine for its frontline healthcare workers on January 5, 2021. The Moderna vaccines arrived at Doris Ison Health Center.

Maria Caba, a patient care technician at Doris Ison, was the first to receive the vaccine. This marked a milestone moment for CHI and the entire community in the fight against COVID-19.

CHI received an initial allotment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and began offering it to employees in phases on a voluntary basis. Just a week later, CHI began giving the vaccine to its patients over 65 years of age.

Patients and community members have been turning to CHI for more information about the vaccines themselves, what to expect, and what steps they should take to protect themselves and others after being vaccinated.

Dr. Saint Anthony Amofah, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Academic Officer at Community Health of South Florida, Inc., is part of the team in charge of leading the healthcare system’s vaccination efforts across CHI. 

Here he answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the vaccination process:

Why should you get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks of the vaccine. The COVID-19 disease is worrisome and can be deadly for many people. It can cause pneumonia, making patients feel very sick and overwhelmed with shortness of breath. Fortunately, the vaccine decreases the chances of having a severe COVID-19 illness.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Yes, it has been very well studied, and so far, side effects have been minimal. They include injection site pain and low-grade fever. Many of us have received the vaccine, and we have not suffered serious side effects.

Was the COVID-19 vaccine developed quickly?

Yes, it was. However, this is primarily because the technology used for these vaccines had been developed years ago for similar corona viruses.  Additionally, the entire world and governments pumped significant funding into developing the vaccine. For example, the funding allowed manufacturing plants to be built even before the vaccine testing was completed. Financing makes things happen faster, but you can rest assured, they did not take short cuts.

Must I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?

The current recommendation is yes. The vaccine gives you stronger immunity over a longer period than the disease.

Do I need to wear a mask after I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine prevents serious disease in 95% of people. There will be 5% who may still get very sick. Additionally, it is thought that you can still transmit COVID-19 to your loved ones if you get exposed, even if you don’t get sick.