The recent development and release of the COVID-19 vaccine, people across the world now have hope that the end of the pandemic is coming.
To get an expert view on what's happening with the vaccine right now, the Dawson County News spoke with Dr. Larry Anderson, chairman for the Dawson County Health Board and physician at Anderson Family Medicine, about his experience receiving the vaccine and the state of the pandemic in Dawson County.
DCN: Dr. Anderson, why did you choose to get the vaccine?
Anderson: “The main reason was I did not want to get COVID-19, so that was my big incentive. Just like getting the flu vaccine cause you don’t wanna get the flu. There’s just so many bad things that can happen to you if you get the COVID-19 that it was just worth the risk for me to do that.”
How was your experience getting the vaccine?
“It went very well. I got mine through the hospital and all of them have a short little questionnaire — have you ever had a reaction before, do you have a fever now — just general questions that you would ask any time that you would give a person a vaccine. I took the shot in the arm and it didn’t hurt and I did have to sit and wait 15 minutes after that to make sure there was no reaction.”
“Then I got my card which has the date of the vaccine, the manufacturer and the lot number and the date when to return for the second shot. It’s the same vaccine given twice. The dates given between the shots are 21 or 28 depending on the manufacturer, and those are minimum dates so you can go longer than that, you just can’t show up earlier. And after those two shots that’s all.”
Have you had any side effects since getting the vaccine?
“The next day I had slight soreness around the injection site, but you normally get that with any vaccine anyways. I have not had any other side effects besides that, not a one.”
What do people need to take into account when considering whether or not to get the vaccine?
“The vaccine has been shown to be safe. So far we’ve given out hundreds of thousands of doses of the vaccine and so far only sporadic things have hit the news about having a reaction or a side effect which is certainly smaller numbers than your chances of having an auto wreck here in Dawson County. The chances of having a reaction are very slim, and the risk of getting the virus far outweighs the risk of getting the side effects.”
Are there specific allergens that you should take into account when considering the vaccine?
“Not really. There’s always a generic warning that you could have an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients, but none of us have been exposed to any of the ingredients. This is not animal based like the flu vaccine which is grown in fertilized duck eggs, so egg allergies don’t count, any food allergies don’t count and allergic reactions to the flu vaccine don’t count.”
What is the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Dawson County?
“It seems to be getting a little worse because we’re seeing all these spikes. The number of deaths have gone up so we’re at about 15 deaths now, and the number of cases has gone up. We saw the first spike after Thanksgiving, and then going into the Christmas season we saw the second spike. This has to do with people not wearing masks, not doing social distancing, not staying home, getting out into larger retail areas, family gatherings, group activities; and the way to spread the virus is to do those things.”
“I am hoping it’ll go back down; we just have to get through the rest of this week when we have New Year’s come up and everybody wants to go out and celebrate the New Year which is a lot of people together and a lot of people not wearing masks.”
“Right now they’re administering the vaccine to healthcare workers and then they’ll be moving on to others. You can sign up to be on the waiting list for the vaccine on the District 2 Public Health website.”