Get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The FDA recently approved 2 vaccines to prevent people from becoming sick with COVID-19. There are some differences between the 2 vaccines, but they are almost identical in how well they work. Both vaccines are extremely effective and reduce a person’s risk of getting sick from COVID-19 by 94-95%. Both vaccines require you to receive 2 shots (3 to 4 weeks apart) to be fully protected.
AHF recommends that all clients be vaccinated unless there is a specific reason that you should not receive the vaccine.
Because supplies of the vaccines are limited right now, the federal government, through the CDC, has decided to put people into different groups based on how important it is for them to receive the vaccine. The CDC has recommended that the first group to be vaccinated should include front-line healthcare workers and people living in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.
It is important to understand that even though the CDC makes recommendations about the order in which different groups should be vaccinated, each state decides whether it will follow those recommendations exactly or make changes to them. Because of that, your place in line for the COVID vaccine may partly depend on the state in which you live.
Even though there is still some uncertainty about when AHF clients will be able to receive the COVID vaccine, you can be assured that AHF will be ready to vaccinate you as soon as we are able. We have created a COVID Vaccine Task Force that meets weekly and includes leaders of many departments at AHF. We are registering our pharmacies and healthcare centers to be vaccine distribution centers and, where needed, we are ordering special vaccine freezers and other supplies. We are writing policies and procedures to make sure that the vaccine is administered safely to our clients.
I encourage you to check this website frequently for updates about where and when you can receive your COVID vaccine. I also encourage you to discuss COVID vaccination with your AHF Medical Provider or AHF Pharmacist.
Michael Wohlfeiler, JD, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Information on the COVID-19 crisis is constantly changing. This page updated 1/13/2020.
I have HIV. Should I get the vaccine?
Yes. Being HIV-positive should not stop you from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The only people who should not receive the vaccine are those who have a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). It is important for people with HIV to be vaccinated because HIV might put them at an increased risk for severe illness if they get COVID-19.
Even though the vaccine trials did not include large numbers of subjects with HIV, most medical experts believe that side effects in people with HIV will not be significantly different from the side effects that they saw in HIV-negative persons.
We believe that the vaccine will be effective and result in high levels of protection against COVID-19 in HIV-positive persons, especially if they are stable on antiretroviral therapy. If your T-cell count is less than 200, if your HIV is not under control or if you have other questions or concerns, you should speak with your medical provider prior to receiving the vaccine.
Please get the vaccine as soon as possible, from any trusted healthcare provider – whether AHF or otherwise. The sooner you get the vaccine, the sooner you’ll be protected.
As soon as AHF has the vaccine, we will start contacting patients to receive it. We’ll follow state and local guidelines. Right now, the first group will be people over a certain age (65 or 75) and people with serious health conditions. As state and local governments allow more people to get the vaccine, we will contact patients in these other groups.
Please do not wait if you can get the vaccine from another trusted healthcare provider. As soon as AHF has the vaccine, we will be offering it to pharmacy clients who according to state and local guidelines. We will be announcing when we have the vaccine and who is eligible by text messages, phone calls, and through our website.
How do we know the vaccination is safe?
Safety is our top priority at AHF. We're confident that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have ensured the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures all vaccines are as safe as possible.
After a vaccine is approved for use, there are many vaccine safety monitoring systems in place to watch for side effects that may not have been seen during clinical trials. If an unexpected symptom arises, experts quickly study it to decide whether it is a real safety concern.
I’m worried about the side effects. What are they?
Side effects include sore arm, mild fever, tiredness, headache and muscle aches. If you have any serious side effect, let your provider know right away. In rare cases, a few people have had a serious allergic reaction. If you have allergies, talk to your provider before getting the vaccine. At AHF, we have equipment and medicines on site to counteract an allergic reaction.
I hear that I need to have two shots - Do I really need two?