POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - As residents and staff of Idaho's long term care facilities get their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, area pharmacists are preparing for the next phase of vaccinating our vulnerable population.
Ed Snell's Pharmacy Shop in Pocatello expects to have their first 2,000 doses of the vaccine in hand by the end of January. However, according to clinical pharmacist Dr. Debbie Marchetti, the expected arrival date for the vaccine is ever-changing.
The CDC is recommending a phased approach to distributing the new vaccines, since there is a limited supply while companies work to enhance production.
Idaho is currently in Phase 1A; the vaccine goes to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.
“The second roll out, the one we’ll be in (Phase 1B), is going to persons 75 and older and those other front line workers that are needing to be vaccinated,” Marchetti said.
When pharmacies do receive their vaccine shipment, those who qualify to get the vaccine first will have to make an appointment and plan to stay 15 minutes after getting the shot. The CDC recommends those with a history of severe allergic reactions should stay 30 minutes after their shot.
“The standard is that when you get a vaccine you haven’t had before, you have to wait around for 15 minutes to be observed for any types of complications or reactions to the vaccine,” Marchetti said.
There have been a few reports of people having allergic reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine. The CDC is monitoring those incidents.
"It is important to understand that these 2 vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) were released on a EUA (Emergency Use Authorization). This means that we do not yet have long term data on the vaccine. The data thus far shows no difference than other vaccines," Marchetti said.
The most common side effects are injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain. Some have reported a fever. Side effects are more common after the second dose.
Administering the Covid-19 vaccine will be similar to how pharmacies give flu, HPV, chickenpox and other vaccines.
“There really isn’t any difference," Marchetti said. "It’s still the same guidelines as a regular vaccine."
Patients should not expect to be billed for getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
“The vaccine is free to all the population,” Marchetti said.
Pharmacies can bill patients' insurance companies for the work of administering the vaccine, but insurance can not charge the patient any copay. People who don't have insurance will not be charged.
“There’s not going to be anybody that is turned away, regardless for not having insurance,” Marchetti said.