The end of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be within sight as vaccine production in the U.S. continues to increase and new vaccines come closer to approval. UHS is playing an important role in coordinating vaccine distribution in the Southern Tier.
The vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use have been shown to be safe and effective, preventing serious illness more than 90% of the time. The vaccine will not give a person COVID-19, but if you do experience cold- or flu-like symptoms after getting the shot, they should dissipate within a few days. The vaccine is the ideal way to gain immunity to the virus because it is known to be safe, whereas contracting the virus can be deadly.
The Southern Tier’s regional vaccine website, southerntiervax.org, has a wealth of information for residents on the virus and vaccines. You can locate vaccination facilities near you, check appointment availability and register for vaccines all online.
“A big part of what we’re doing is developing health equity plans and making sure we’re getting information out to communities of color and rural folks,” says John M. Carrigg, president and chief executive officer of UHS. The Southern Tier has a population that skews older and more rural than the general population, so UHS has also prioritized making registration available by phone to serve those communities where internet access and use may be low. Pop-up vaccine clinics are also playing a crucial role in reaching underserved communities.
At the end of February, the Southern Tier was among the top two regions for vaccine distribution, administering more than 90% of the vaccines it received from the state, and about 5% more than the state overall.