What to know: Preparing for the COVID Vaccine
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Preparing for the COVID-19 Vaccine: What you need to know now...

The State Department of Health (DOH), working in cooperation with the Emergency Management Office in Los Alamos County, is beginning to set up vaccine clinics for certain segments of the population. Upcoming clinics Jan. 30 and 31 will be for seniors over the age of 75, and other clinics are expected in future months that will address the larger community as more vaccine becomes available.

DOH will notify individuals when they have been selected to receive the vaccine; this is the responsibility of DOH, not Los Alamos County.

If you have been selected, you will receive a text or email from DOH with an “Event code” that is unique to you. Do not share the code with others - it is tied to your registration with DOH on the COVID-19 vaccine website. The log in screen is here:
https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/

Individuals will need to log into their profile on this website and select “Schedule an Appointment.” Upon entering the Event code, the location of the vaccine clinic and several time slots will appear on your device. Select your time to schedule an appointment. If you feel confident that you will be available and plan to get the vaccine on your appointed day, do not delay in completing this step. In order to maximize distributing all available quantities of the vaccine on the day of the clinic, DOH could re-assign your Event code to another individual if you do not enter a response in a timely manner.

Leading up to, and including the day of, your vaccine clinic, it is important to note:

  1. Bring your Registration Confirmation code with you to the clinic and be sure you have a time slot. The Registration Confirmation code is the seven-digit code you use to log into your DOH profile on the COVID-19 vaccine website, along with your birth date. You will give DOH the Registration Confirmation code when you check in so that DOH staff can pull up your profile for the vaccination.

  2. Appointment Reminder Notification: You should receive a confirmation of your appointment from the DOH near the time of your appointment via email or text message. That same message should contain your Registration Confirmation Code as well as the time of your appointment. If you receive appointment confirmation, but do not receive your time slot, call DOH at 1-855-600-3453, then access Option 0, Option 4 to be sure you have a time slot. Do not attend the clinic without an actual time appointment.

  3. Fill out the Medical Questionnaire online before you go to your vaccine appointment. The link to the medical questionnaire is included in the appointment reminder you receive via text or email from DOH, typically near the morning of your appointment. This is a step that is often overlooked, causing delays in line as health care workers must assist attendees in completing the required questionnaire. Your link will request that you log back into your DOH Registration (using the Registration Confirmation Code and your birth date) to access the medical questionnaire on the vaccine website, making it easy for those checking in individuals to quickly process your registration and help the next person in line.

  4. Review questions about the vaccine by contacting your primary care provider or by using published DOH or CDC sources ahead of your visit to the vaccine clinic. While health care professionals will be on site to answer questions, in order to keep the clinic running smoothly and avoid delays to others awaiting the vaccine, please do your research in advance as much as possible. Here are two helpful websites with info on Pfizer and Moderna:

    Pfizer: https://www.cvdvaccine.com/
    Moderna: https://www.modernatx.com/covid19vaccine-eua/recipients/

  5. Arrive during your time slot. Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of the time slot when you scheduled your appointment. Arriving at your set time allows for a smooth, orderly and continuous flow of traffic.

  6. Dress warmly. The current walk-up clinics are held at the Los Alamos High School Gym. Staging occurs outside and with cold weather, you might be in line for several minutes. Dress accordingly. If attending a drive-up clinic, be prepared to leave vehicle engines running to stay warm while in line.

  7. Dress in layers. The vaccine is administered in the upper arm. Wear a short-sleeved shirt to receive the vaccine. If attending a drive-up clinic, be prepared to slip off a winter coat or jacket while seated in the car, so that you can be ready for the injection a few minutes before your vehicle is asked to pull forward for the vaccine.

  8. Allow time at the end of the vaccine for up to 30 minutes of observation, and for the next 1-2 days after receiving the vaccine. Plan accordingly. Most common side effects are pain at the injection site or feeling tired. You may want to consider altering plans to travel if you are unsure how you may react to the vaccine, or, if caring for others who may be receiving the vaccine in your family at the same time.

  9. Consider downloading the smart phone app V-Safe. This is encouraged for post-vaccine follow ups with the Centers for Disease Control. Web-based well care checks through the app can check in with you to see if you are having any allergic reactions that should be reported. This helps health care professionals at the national level in tracking the new vaccine and possible side effects (severe, adverse or mild). Learn more about V-Safe here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.html

  10. Watch for an email or text from DOH regarding the date of your second dose and make plans now to get the second shot as close as possible to the recommended time. Notification for your second “booster” will be given to you by DOH and is automatically set up in their system. Although second dose clinics are scheduled within a few final days of that recommended second dose, plan accordingly so that you can attend. Missing the second shot could impact longer term efficacy and protection, and also means that you might need to attend a later vaccine clinic intended for others who are "on track" to receive their second dose on their schedule. Help the health care professionals manage this two-step process as much as possible by making every effort to attend your second clinic once notified.

  11. Check back on the DOH Registration site at least weekly. This is a rapidly evolving situation and DOH may be updating or adding new features to the site. Stay up-to-date and be sure your profile is current.

  12. Check resources from the CDC frequently. The CDC is also posting out good information on a regular basis that you may find useful. For example, refer to this site on what to expect as you get ready to receive the vaccine:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect.html

    They also offer information about travel and COVID-19 testing:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html