The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us, especially our communities of color. Minority populations are at higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus due to social determinants of health and longstanding inequalities in terms of housing, transportation, occupation and access to health care.
There is limited vaccine availability to start. This is because the vaccines are currently being manufactured and administered. As COVID-19 vaccines are approved by the FDA, the federal government is supplying states with limited doses on a weekly basis. Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has created a list of populations, spread across 5 phases, to prioritize for vaccination.
Kansas has begun vaccinating residents in all phases. HealthCore Clinic is currently vaccinating people age 18+.
Phase 1In this initial phase, healthcare workers, long term care facility residents and patients, and workers critical to pandemic response were administered the COVID-19 vaccine in late 2020 and January of 2021.
Phase 2In January 2021, Phase 2 began which vaccinated residents above the age of 65 as well as high-contact critical workers such as police officers, firefighters, food service workers, K-12 teachers, and anyone living in a licensed congregate setting.
Phase 3The third phase of Kansas’s vaccine rollout is for people aged 16 – 64 with severe medical risks. Also in Phase 3 are workers in critical infrastructure such as agricultural workers, shelter and housing workers, and those who work in social service and government.
Phase 4The fourth phase of Kansas’s vaccine rollout is for people aged 16 – 64 with other medical risks such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, dementia, and type 1 diabetes.
Phase 5The fifth and final phase of the Kansas vaccine rollout is for anyone aged 16 or older. It is possible we may have a vaccine for children under the age of 16 by this time.
Where do I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
There are locations assigned as vaccine sites and conveniently located across Sedgwick County. As more vaccines become available, there will be even more sites. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has created a tool called “Find My Vaccine.” It is an interactive map that shows where you can get your vaccine in any of Kansas’s 105 counties.
HealthCore Clinic is an official vaccine site (by appointment).
The COVID-19 vaccine is free, and no insurance is required.
The Federal Government permits vaccine providers to charge an administration fee, but cannot deny a vaccine based on inability to pay. What this means is, everyone who wants the vaccine will get the vaccine.
When you schedule your vaccine, ask your chosen vaccine provider if they charge an administration fee. If you are unable to pay the fee, please inform your provider in advance. You will not be denied a vaccine.
As a federally qualified health clinic, we do not charge a fee for the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost for the patient, regardless of insurance status. However, the appropriate insurance will be billed, if applicable.
Which COVID-19 vaccine should I get?
All are highly effective.
There are different COVID-19 vaccines available from different companies. Which vaccine you get is entirely dependent on what vaccine is available when it’s your turn and which vaccine your provider has. To put things in perspective, the flu vaccine has an efficacy of roughly 44%, meaning all of the COVID-19 vaccines are considered highly effective.
Pfizer-BioNTech 95% efficacy; 2 shots, 3 weeks apart; mRNA-basedThe Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has an efficacy of 95% and requires 2 shots, 3 weeks apart. It is an mRNA-based vaccine, which triggers an immune response that produces antibodies to protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Moderna 94.1% efficacy; 2 shots, 4 weeks apart; mRNA-basedThe Moderna vaccine has an efficacy of 94.1% and requires 2 shots, 4 weeks apart. It is also an mRNA-based vaccine, which triggers an immune response that produces antibodies to protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Johnson & Johnson 66% efficacy; 1 shot; DNA-basedThe Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an efficacy of 66% and only requires a single dose. This vaccine is based on the COVID-19 virus’s genetic instructions for building what’s called a “spike protein.” Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which store the instructions in single-stranded RNA, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses double-stranded DNA.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Thousands of Kansas and millions of Americans have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines underwent clinical trials and have been approved for emergency use authorization. The vaccines will also undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
Are there side effects from getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
While many people experience little to no side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, most people will experience mild side effects such as soreness at the site of the injection, a headache, chills, and/or a fever. Most people report these mild side effects lasting for 24 – 48 hours. These reactions are normal, they show that the vaccine is working, and are a sign that your body is developing antibodies.
A very small number of people have had an allergic reaction after vaccination. This is extremely rare, and when it happens, vaccine providers have medicines available to effectively, and immediately, treat the reaction. When you are administered your COVID-19 vaccine, you will be asked to wait for 15-30 minutes after while you are monitored to ensure you do not have an allergic reaction.
Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose.
If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.
Once you are fully vaccinated, please continue to follow social distancing measures such as wearing a mask, remaining 6-feet apart, and washing your hands frequently. While you may have developed antibodies from COVID-19, you can still spread it to someone who has not yet been vaccinated.
Together, we can achieve immunity in our community.
HealthCore Clinic and other state agencies will continue to provide updates and recommendations. To end the COVID-19 pandemic, it will take all of us chipping in and doing our part. Subscribe to our email newsletter to get updates about vaccine events, important changes, and other information relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic and your health safety.
HealthCore Clinic offers an integrated approach to care through affordable access to medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services all under one roof. HealthCore Clinic has been serving the community for decades before the pandemic, we have served the community during the pandemic, and we will continue to serve long after.