The CDC recently updated public health recommendations for non-health care settings. Fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks in most settings, and for most activities, except when required by federal or state laws, rules and regulations, including business and workplace guidance.
Health care settings are excluded from the updated CDC guidance and Iowa law where exposure risk may be higher and additional precautions are necessary to protect our vulnerable patient populations. Patients and visitors at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital and McCrary Rost Clinic are asked to wear a mask at all times in public areas and when unable to physically distance from others in the facility. Children under two and patients medically unable to tolerate a mask will not be required to wear one.
We encourage everyone, 12 and older, to the get the COVID-19 vaccine. To find a vaccine center near you, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/
VISIT CALHOUN COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH AT HTTPS://WWW.CALHOUNCOUNTY.IOWA.GOV/COUNTY_OFFICES/PUBLIC_HEALTH/COVID19.PHP
Calhoun County Public Health’s COVID LINE IS 712-297-8323 EX. 222. Please check this extension for more updates as they happen.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the vaccine being distributed right now?
• SMCH plans to partner with Calhoun County Public Health (CCPH) to help distribute the vaccine to the public. Due to the current allocation of vaccine, CCPH is the only group in our county to be vaccinating Phase 1b at this time. As they receive additional vaccines, we will continue to be ready to help and will post additional information as it is available.
How will I be notified when I can receive the vaccine?
• If you identify as an eligible individual based off your age or place of employment or occupation, we encourage you to closely monitor communication from your local public health department. We will continue to partner with local public health departments on the best strategies to vaccinate and broadly communicate to these groups of individuals as vaccine allocations increase.
• We expect COVID-19 vaccines to be widely available to the general public later in 2021. SMCH does not have a waitlist.
Is there a cost?
• There is no cost for the COVID vaccine, however an administration fee for giving the shot will be billed to the patient’s insurance.
Why can’t I get my vaccine during my routine visit?
• This vaccine has very specific storage and handling. Once we open a vial it must be used in a limited time. Vaccine clinics are the most efficient way for us to administer the most vaccines.
Why do I have to go to a vaccine clinic?
• Vaccine supply is limited. This is the best way to manage supply and give the vaccine quickly. At SMCH, we will be working with Calhoun County Public Health to best serve our community.
Can I choose between Moderna or Pfizer? Do you know which one I will be getting?
• The Federal Government is managing the vaccine distribution, with state public health departments determining the number of doses available to health care systems and other priority groups in each state. Because of this, you will not be able to select which one you receive. You will receive a vaccine card at the time of your vaccination designating the brand and lot number, and you will want to make sure you get your second dose of the same brand.
• When supply is available, we anticipate administering Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. This vaccine does require two doses.
Additional Information & Guidance
• If you have questions about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccine Fact Sheets from the FDA.
• Continue to wear a face covering, social distance and wash your hands frequently in order to help reduce your risk of COVID-19.
• Learn about the COVID-19 vaccine from fact-based sources, such as the FDA and CDC.
• Contact your health care provider if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
What are some of the potential side effects?
• For more information on vaccine safety, speed of development and potential side effects of vaccination, we recommend reading the Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet and Moderna EUA Fact Sheet.
What are the ingredients in the COVID vaccine?
• Ingredients for the Pfizer COVID Vaccine may be found on the EUA Fact Sheet.
• Ingredients for the Moderna Vaccine can be found on the EUA Fact Sheet.
How do I know this vaccine is safe, since it was just developed? How can I trust the approval process?
• In order to receive Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, the vaccine must be proven safe and effective. The science is rooted in years of research, and every step of the vaccine process went through the same safety assessments as all other vaccines.
• For more information on vaccine safety, speed of development and potential side effects of vaccination, we recommend visiting the CDC website.
Should someone with allergies get this vaccine?
• If you have had a serious allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any previous vaccine or injectable therapy or have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of the vaccine, you should talk to your healthcare provider before considering the COVID vaccine. We will ask you to wait for 30 minutes following your vaccine to observe for any reaction. We are prepared to deal with vaccine reactions.
Does the second dose have to be exactly 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) after the first dose?
• Both vaccines available under the FDA EUA (emergency use authorization) are 2 dose vaccines with the second dose for the Pfizer vaccine needing to be at least 21 days after the first dose and Moderna vaccine at least 28 days after the first dose.
• These are the intervals utilized in the vaccine studies, so it is optimal to remain consistent.
• The CDC has stated that if the second vaccine is given late, the series does not need to be restarted.
• The second dose should be the same brand as the initial dose as there is not data to support interchanging brands.
• You will not be able to schedule your second dose appointment any sooner than the 21- or 28-day intervals.
If I have already tested positive for COVID, can I get the vaccine?
• Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Can pregnant or nursing individuals receive the vaccine?
• Yes, pregnant and nursing individuals are eligible to receive the vaccine. They were excluded from the clinical trials in the development of this vaccine, so no information has been collected regarding its safety during pregnancy. However, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support the position that the vaccine should be offered to pregnant and lactating individuals.
• It is important to know that being pregnant puts a woman at increased risk of more severe COVID-19 with an increase in ICU admission and ventilator use when compared to non-pregnant women in the same age group. The bottom line – it’s a personal decision, so we recommend pregnant individuals contact their provider to discuss their individual situation.