Local health care heroes vaccinated against COVID-19


This image was accessed via Google Images under the Creative Commons License

The two vaccinations currently available in the United States, including this pictured Pfizer vaccine, are reported to be approximately 95% effective at preventing an individual from contracting COVID-19.

While the past months have been far from easy for health care workers, the new COVID-19 vaccine is providing hope for a better tomorrow. Many local health care workers are among the first in the country to be vaccinated and are grateful for the chance to be protected better than ever before. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, the jobs of health care workers have changed significantly as they have had to adapt to the challenges of the world health crisis while never ceasing to provide care to patients in need.

At local offices, telehealth visits have replaced many in-person visits in order to keep patients and doctors safe. Telehealth visits have especially become the new standard in recent months as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the area.  

Dr. Sara Casile of North Main Family Practice commented on the recent increase in cases, saying, “We are receiving more phone calls from patients reporting exposures, requesting testing, expressing concerns and asking questions.”

With the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, however, local health care workers have a new opportunity to protect themselves and their patients and usher in a quicker end to the pandemic. Thus, the medical community as a whole feels very optimistic about the vaccine and is grateful to be a part of the first group to get vaccinated.  

“Both the medical community and my office are very hopeful that the COVID-19 vaccine will help us slow down the pandemic and return life to normal,” stated Dr. Bruno Casile, a family medicine physician at Jefferson Hospital.

Local health care workers have had the opportunity to make history, becoming some of the first United States citizens to get vaccinated and help the country move one step closer to wide-scale protection from the virus. 

“I do have a sense of safety since I received the vaccine. I feel it’s something we can do for ourselves and those around us to be proactive,” stated Amy Curtis, a Social Worker at Presbyterian SeniorCare who received her vaccine in December.

The two vaccines that are currently being distributed in the United States are reported to be 94% and 95% effective, and they do not have the ability to infect a recipient with COVID-19 because there is no live virus in the vaccination. Instead, the vaccination works to protect individuals from COVID-19 by helping the body to produce the antigen for the virus. Due to the nature of this vaccine, two shots, separated by a time period of three to four weeks, are necessary in order to ensure that the body can properly recognize and fight the virus. 

After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, some health care workers have reported side effects. These side effects are a normal sign that one’s body is building protection against the virus and can range from mild headaches and arm soreness to some flu-like symptoms.

Regardless, the positives of getting protection from the virus far outweigh any negatives from possible side effects, as explained by Dr. Sara Casile: “I am encouraging family and friends, as well as patients, to get the vaccine. I believe it will be instrumental in helping end the pandemic by providing protection against COVID-19 with very low risk for side effects.”

At this time, the vaccine is encouraged for all patients aged sixteen and older, and it is particularly recommended for patients with a high risk of complications from COVID-19. But, before the vaccine is widely available to the general public, local health care workers urge that everyone continue to stay home when possible, social distance, wear a mask, thoroughly wash hands, and isolate at home and call a doctor if any COVID-19 symptoms develop. Because vaccinations do not prevent individuals from infecting others, these guidelines should be followed even once one is vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, the vaccine alone is not enough to protect the community at large. We all need to be good stewards of general public health… in order to protect ourselves and others,” explained Dr. Bruno Casile.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and daily updates about its distribution, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html