About 2,300 people remain on Cole County’s list of residents interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine who haven’t yet received a first dose, Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said Thursday.
The county Health Department has vaccinated more than 3,000 people so far — and that doesn’t include the more than 2,000 who received vaccinations at a Feb. 5 mass vaccination event in Jefferson City.
“We still emphasize the first place to go is your primary care physician, if you have one, because they would know your underlying health conditions and health history,” Campbell said during the county’s weekly COVID-19 briefing Thursday. “For those without a PCP, they can call us here at the Health Department (573-636-2181) and get on our list.”
A third option would be to register through the state of Missouri’s vaccine navigator, covidvaccine.mo.gov.
“If you don’t mind going to a mass vaccination event, the navigator can be an important tool for you,” Campbell said. “You will be able to see all events in the region and determine your eligibility. You can also call the state COVID Hotline, 877-435-8411, if you don’t have internet access.”
The second dose of Pfizer vaccine will be administered Feb. 26 to those who received their first dose Feb. 5 at The Linc. This event is not for new patients. Those who attend should bring the registration sheet they filled out Feb. 5, Campbell said.
People should not attend a vaccination event if they have been exposed to COVID-19 before getting their first dose or in between the two doses, said Dr. Randall Haight, of Capital Region Medical Center.
“If you have had known exposure or are quarantined, you shouldn’t go,” Haight said. “We ask that you reach out to whoever gave you the vaccine, if you got your first shot, to let them know; and oftentimes, we can reschedule your next shot.”
Ron Rockwood, director of medical services and population health at Jefferson City Medical Group, said they’ve been getting questions about taking medication prior to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
“We know that COVID vaccine comes with some side effects, which is a sign that your immune system is getting to work,” Rockwood said. “Those side effects include pain and swelling in your arm where you received the injection or flu-like symptoms, such as a headache and chills. Patients often ask if they should take Tylenol or Motrin, and we tell them that over-the-counter pills prior to getting the vaccine are not recommended because it is not clear whether taking these medications can affect the vaccine’s effectiveness.”
People who take aspirin or ibuprofen for other medical conditions should continue to do so as directed by their physicians, Rockwood added.
Also, he said, people who experience side effects after receiving the vaccine can take over-the-counter pain medications.
Questions have also arisen following information recently released by the Society of Breast Imaging about mammography and COVID-19, Haight said.
“If possible, and when it does not unduly delay care, consider scheduling breast exams prior to the first dose of COVID vaccination or four to six weeks following the second dose,” Haight said. “The reason they said this is sometimes after a vaccination people may have swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit area, and mammograms sometimes pick up those lymph nodes and that would show as an abnormal mammogram. We don’t want people to be scared, and we want them to know it’s a low percentage of women who will have that abnormality.”