The COVID vaccines are working to reduce transmission, prevent death and serious illness, and help ensure we will not see a third surge of this virus in our community. It is truly amazing to see the numbers of positive tests and hospitalizations reduced so drastically. And most importantly, to see few, if any, new deaths occur from the virus.
However, the vaccine administration has slowed down because many still have concerns about getting the vaccine. Recently, Dr. Levin, Ventura County’s Health Officer, explained some of the concerns over the vaccine and provided valuable information on the risks and benefits.
Dr. Levin explained that in the United States the risk of dying from COVID itself is 1 in 56. That translates to 178,570 deaths per 10,000,000.
In Ventura County alone, we have seen over 1,000 deaths due to COVID-19. In a typical flu season, Ventura County sees 15 to 20 people die from the flu. This is nowhere near the tragedy we have witnessed from COVID-19.
One of the less seen risks of COVID are the long-term symptoms some are experiencing. It is noted that between 3 and 7 million people in the US have long term symptoms, including foggy thinking, exhaustion and heart problems.
There are three COVID vaccines available. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose, and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses. County sites are now available as walk in with no appointment necessary. You can also schedule appointments with local pharmacies. For all the information on vaccine locations in California visit https://myturn.ca.gov/ or call 1-833-422-4255.
The COVID vaccine is free and no proof of citizenship is required. Transportation is available to get the vaccine though Uber or Lyft if you have the app. If not, you can call the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging at 805-477-7300 or call 833-540-0473 in Los Angeles County.
If you or someone you know is homebound and unable to get to a vaccination site, there is a mobile program available to provide the shot in their own home. In Ventura County call 805-477-7300 to request a home visit from the mobile team. In Los Angeles County you can call 833-540-0473 to request a mobile vaccine.
There is even more incentive to be vaccinated now thanks to California’s new vaccination incentive program. Starting on May 27, the first two million Californians to start and complete their COVID-19 vaccination can chose between a $50 virtual money card, a $50 grocery gift card from Kroger (which includes Ralphs, Food 4 Less and Foods Co.), or a $50 grocery gift card from Albertsons (which includes Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Andronico’s Community Markets).
Once you complete the vaccination, you will get a text or email code to redeem for your $50 prize. If you do not have a mobile phone or email address, then 7-10 days after your vaccination, you can call 833-993-3873 to receive a physical card.
There is a lot of information available about the vaccine. If you have questions and want to learn more visit https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/ and click on Vaccine Information or talk to your personal doctor. The widespread dissemination of the COVID vaccine allows our community to open up safely, meaning our businesses can be at full capacity, we can return to regular personal activities, and schools can offer full time, in person education.
Martha Shapiro can be reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at email@example.com