Former News Banner Editor Stands Up to the Pandemic
BY CARISSA SITKI
With shipments of COVID-19 vaccines making their way across the United States, it would appear that the pandemic may be nearing its end. There have been two vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. Both of them have received emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA.
“With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., according to a News Release on the FDA’s website, “Through the FDA’s open and transparent scientific review process, two COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized in an expedited timeframe while adhering to the rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization that the American people have come to expect from the FDA. These standards and our review process, which are the same we have used in reviewing the first COVID-19 vaccine and intend to use for any other COVID-19 vaccines, included input from independent scientific and public health experts as well as a thorough analysis of the data by the agency’s career staff.”
Former Editor at the Altamont News and St. Elmo Banner, Shelby Niehaus, who is now employed at Chandler Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, received her vaccine against COVID-19 on December 22, 2020. She works as a a spotter, which means she assists nurses and doctors in safely entering and exiting COVID rooms. Her hospital had vaccinated, or was scheduled to vaccinate, over 2000 employees at the time of her injection. They have around 75 COVID patients, according to Niehaus, who fill up an entire floor of the hospital to “some 120 percent” and fill a quarter of the next floor down. The hospital has, just over, 500 total beds. But Niehaus noted that they are doing pretty well compared to other Kentucky hospitals.
The different departments at Chandler Hospital received their emailed vaccination invitations in stages, beginning with the employees on the COVID floor. According to Niehaus, they had 24 hours to respond to the email and schedule their time before they were skipped.
Being a newer vaccine, there are not many firsthand accounts of the process, or side effects, but Niehaus, who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, shared with the News Banner that her experience was “super fast.”
“It’s exactly like the flu shot, except your identity is pretty closely verified if you’re in the early groups,” Niehaus said, “They ask that you wait in the room for 15 minutes after the first dose to ensure you don’t have any reactions.” Niehaus said that she did have some injection site pain for about a day and a half, and that some of her coworkers had the same experience, but pain at the injection site has been noted by the CDC as the most common side effect of the vaccines. Niehaus will later be sent an email for her to schedule her second dose, which should be in 21 says, or so.
For those who may be leery about taking the vaccine, Niehaus said, “I would note that the vaccine is the result of a massive historic effort, and the levying of a lot of money. It did go from theory to practice very quickly, but not for no reason- researchers put in a lot of work. Studies about the after effects will continue into the future.”
The CDC’s website recommends that, even after receiving both doses of the COVID vaccine, people should continue covering their mouth and nose with a mask, wash their hands often, and stay six-feet-apart from others.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit cdc.gov or fda.gov.
CUTLINE: Former Altamont News and Banner Editor, Shelby Niehaus, receives the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 in the Karpf Auditorium in Pavillion A of the University of Kentucky HealthCare’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital.