Area health care providers like Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb are currently vaccinating their health care workers. Reporter Chase Cavanaugh spoke with Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Bob Manam.
Cavanaugh: With doses of vaccine now available in the hands of hospitals like Kish, what are you seeing on the ground in terms of vaccine rollout and distribution?
Manam: The hospitals have received batches of doses of vaccines based on what the State of Illinois and the local county have provided. There will be a certain amount of vaccines available for DeKalb County, versus Kane County or Cook or DuPage. Obviously, there will be more doses given to those counties and less doses to DeKalb. That is not under the control of the hospital. It is completely under the control of the State. Having said that, the hospital has done a very good job of making sure that none of the vaccines have gone to waste. They have been able to get as many people vaccinated as the number of vaccines allow.
C: What have you observed in terms of willingness to get the vaccine, particulary among frontline health care workers?
M: All of us (the leadership) have gotten our vaccinations, and we’ve said that “Don’t worry, you’re not the first person to get this vaccine.” The trial period, unlike other vaccines, a number of people have already received this, and three-four-five months have gone through. So we haven’t had any reports of serious reactions. Now having said that, there have been serious allergic reactions. That is the kind of thing that would be known almost immediately, and there have been reactions such as fatigue, bone and joint pain, mental fog, some dizziness, fevers. But they have not been where it was so serious that they need to be hospitalized. And that usually would occur on the second dose rather than the first dose or if somebody has already had COVID and goes and gets a dose of the vaccine -- they might have a more of a reaction than others.
C: Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine require a second dosage. What do you see in terms of Kishwaukee Hospital’s role in administering that dose and the logistics behind it?
M: It would be a lot easier to just get everybody vaccinated, open up the doses, get as many people vaccinated as possible, and then either plan on the second dose when you can -- or a little bit later than the 21 or 28 days. That discussion is now being had at CDC and the higher government levels. That may occur. We don’t make that determination locally. We’ll just follow the rules. If they say 21 days, we’ll schedule the second dose for 21 days?
C: Would you say that the majority of vaccines have gone to health care workers as opposed to the elderly, since obviously, they’re two different vulnerable categories that are both being addressed?
M: So far, we’re still at health care workers and now this week or next week, into the nursing homes.
C: Since the state has a large role in determining the rules for this rollout, what would you say to any state officials regarding areas for improvement?
M: They’re doing a good job of when they have the vaccine to get it into the arms of people. It seems they’re not having enough of the vaccine delivered.
C: And to wrap things up, is there anything else you’d like to add, or comments on what we should expect next?
M: I think in this next month to three months we should definitely continue our mask and our social distancing. We can bring the numbers down. We don’t want more people to become ill and die when the vaccine is literally around the corner.