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Leading by Example on COVID-19 Vaccine

In January, Community Care’s medical director, Rakhshinda Almas, MD, completed her COVID-19 vaccine series, becoming the first member of our staff to do so. Dr. Almas chose to share her story about getting vaccinated to encourage others to do the same

From Dr. Almas: As we start the new year, I wanted to share my experience getting the COVID-19 vaccine, in hopes that it would inspire you all to do likewise. I got the vaccine because I care not only about our members and co-workers, but also about my family’s health and mine. I want to keep everyone safe from COVID-19, as I know you do, too.

The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool to help stop the spread of coronavirus and end this pandemic.

I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on December 17. I barely felt the injection and had no immediate side effects. The next day when I woke up, I noticed some soreness at the injection site and some stiffness of the upper arm. This was not any different from the minor side effects that I noticed with the flu vaccine, which I received earlier this year. I noticed some minor body aches, but nothing that prevented me from carrying out my daily activities. A dose of acetaminophen did wonders.

On January 5, I received my second dose, again with no additional side effects.

I understand you may have questions about the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are held to the same safety standards as all other vaccines. You may experience some side effects, but those are normal signs your body is building protection. The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, fever, and chills. These side effects tend to be mild to moderate and go away on their own within 1 to 2 days.

After vaccination, everyone should continue to follow all the current guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, following facility guidance on visitation and infection control, and cleaning hands often.

After I received the vaccination, I enrolled in the V-safe program and I encourage you to do the same if you have a smart phone. V-safe is a tool you can use to tell the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. I got a message daily from V-safe to check if I was having any side effects for the first few days and weekly afterwards. If you report serious side effects, someone from the CDC will follow up with you.

By getting vaccinated, you can serve as a role model in your community and can positively influence vaccination decisions of coworkers, residents, friends, and family. I want you to feel confident in your decision to get vaccinated.

If you would like to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention.

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