Vaccines are here!

Monthly COVID-19 Update from your P2R Committee

This is our first monthly article on the COVID-19 pandemic. We will try to include a column each month in our newsletter and groups.io that discusses various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic in more detail. We will also let you know if our COVID-19 recommendations change.
In December we saw increased number of COVID-19 cases and deaths partly as a result of holiday get-togethers. Even though it seems like there currently might be a decrease in cases, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is still considering most Oregon counties, including Washington County, to be in the Extreme risk category (meaning a very high risk of COVID-19 spread). So, for the time-being, we are still recommending that you wear a mask and physical distance when around people who aren’t members of your household. Here are details on our recommendations:  https://www.uuccwc.org/recommendations-for-group-activities-during-covid-19/

The good news is many Americans are getting vaccinated and several more vaccines are probably going to be approved in the next month or so. We just have to be patient and follow our recommendations on mask-wearing and physical distancing until enough of the U.S. population gets vaccinated. Remember our 2nd UU principle “Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.” One of the ways we can show compassion for one another is to follow our COVID-19 recommendations and be patient in waiting until our turn comes to get vaccinated. And as Dolly Parton says, “Be safe, be respectful, wear your mask, lead with love!”

Vaccines Are Here!         

Some of the most important questions on our minds these days revolve around COVID-19 vaccinations. Are the vaccines safe? Are they effective? When can I get vaccinated?
The answer to the first two is relatively easy. Answering the third one is trickier because things seem to change daily.

We will start the third question, the tricky one: Vaccination Schedules. In an interview with Governor Brown on KGW Channel 8 on Friday, Jan 29, she confirmed our commitment to help getting children back to classrooms after vaccinating the most vulnerable members of our community. According to information on an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) website the first vaccines go to people in Phase 1a, which prioritizes doctors, nurses, janitorial staff, and other staff who have the potential for direct or indirect contact with COVID-19 patients or infectious materials. Refer to the “Vaccine Eligibility & FAQ Tool” section of the following OHA website for details on vaccinations in Oregon: https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov/
After vaccinating this group of people, Oregon’s vaccinators turn to vaccinating teachers so our children and grandchildren can hope to get back to their classrooms. Seniors who live at home and have a chance to protect themselves by staying away from crowds will come next. Currently plan is to start vaccinating those 80 years and older on February 8.

Here are answers to specific questions you might have about vaccinations:

  • What is a good way to find out when I am (or will be) eligible for vaccination?

The most current answers can be found on the OHA websites listed in this article. We already mentioned https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov/ as a good source to find out more about vaccination schedules and the time when you may be eligible to get vaccinated. On this webpage, in the lower right corner of the page, you will see a little blue circle with a white square(ish) shape in it. Clicking on this icon will open the Vaccine Information Tool, where you can type in your questions and find some answers. You might even be able to schedule your vaccination if you are eligible. Occasionally, this Tool gets overwhelmed by the large number of requests, so if you don’t get your answer, be patient and try again.
On the upper part of the COVID-19 Updates webpage (https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19) you can find different ways to send your questions via text, email, or phone.

Vaccination of educators began on Jan. 25. For a list of educators eligible now to receive vaccination follow this link:  https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le3566.pdf

Information specifically for Washington County are found via this link: https://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/CommunicableDiseases/COVID-19/vaccine.cfm

  • Are the vaccines currently available safe and effective?

Yes, they are quite effective in preventing COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective after the second dose. The second dose should be given 21 days after the first dose Find out more information at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html
The Moderna vaccine is 94.1 % effective and the two doses should be given 28 days apart. Find out more information at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Moderna.html
The above links will take you to websites that also address issues about safety. In general, the vaccines are very safe – they have been tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people and have had intensive safety and efficacy monitoring. If you have allergies or some other specific conditions mentioned in the two CDC websites, talk to your healthcare provider for vaccination guidance.

Email P2R@uuccwc.groups.io if you have any questions or want to understand more about the biology and background of the vaccine research. We’ll do our best to send an answer as quickly as possible.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, please send a confidential email to minister@uuccwc.org or pastoralcare@uuccwc.org so that they can check in with you and see if you need anything.

Please stay safe and be kind! We can get through these difficult times by helping each other.

Your Path to Reopening (P2R) Committee
Mark Bischoff                        Bill Ellis                                  Ed Gallaher
Lisa Lake                                Annie Raich                          Zsuzsa Vamos