We hope this letter finds you well. We are writing to provide you with information about the COVID-19 vaccines and encourage you to get vaccinated when they become available.
The past year has been so difficult for all of us, but the vaccines offer hope for a better 2021. We are all looking forward to reconnecting in person with our friends, our families and our communities. The more people who get vaccinated, the quicker that can become a reality.
We are here to provide you with reliable information and assistance. Some of the questions we have heard are:
How do we know the vaccine is safe? Vaccines are the most-tested pharmaceuticals, and the result of a rigorous development process and clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people.
In approving the vaccines for emergency use, the Food and Drug Administration determined that the known and potential benefits of these vaccines outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID-19.
Are there side effects? Yes. Some people who get the vaccine reported side effects, usually mild and more common after the second dose. These side effects are the result of your body creating an immune response. Side effects may start 1-2 days after the vaccine and last on average 2-3 days.
It is important to note in the clinical trials that fewer older people reported side effects. The most common were pain at the injection site, fatigue, headaches, muscle or joint pain, and chills or fever.
If you have concerns, we encourage you to contact your Primary Care Doctor with specific questions about the vaccine and your unique medical history.
What should people do if they have asthma, allergies or other lung problems? According to the doctors at Cambridge Health Alliance, people who have these medical issues should absolutely get the vaccine. People with asthma, allergies or other lung conditions could get very sick or die from COVID-19. The only people who should not get a vaccine are people who have severe allergic reactions to a component of the vaccine. Other than the active mRNA ingredient, the vaccines are simply made of fats, salts, sugar, vinegar and certain glycerols.
I have other questions… Our organizations are happy to connect you with reliable information, vaccine rollout updates and assistance. The vaccine distribution plan is still being developed, but we will provide updates on our websites (links below). As we learn more, Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services may be able to help with scheduling and transportation for vaccination appointments.
We are also urging our employees to get vaccinated, to safeguard against further spread of this deadly and unpredictable virus in our homes and community. Please consider doing so as well.
Executive Director, Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services
Cambridge Council on Aging
Serena Chao, MD
Chief of Geriatrics, Cambridge Health Alliance
Somerville Council on Aging
Here are a few places you can reach out to for more information
on the vaccine or when you might be eligible to receive it:
- Cambridge Council on Aging
617-349-6220 or online at cambridgema.gov/covid19
- Cambridge Health Alliance
COVID Vaccine hotline: 617-665-1987 or online at https://challiance.org/covid-information
- Massachusetts Government
- Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services
Aging Information Center: 617-628-2601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or online at eldercare.org/find-what-you-need/coronavirus-news
- Somerville Council on Aging
617-625-6600 ext. 2300 or call 311 or online at www.somervillema.gov/covid19