SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah. — The vaccination registration and distribution process began in Summit County in January, prioritizing first responders and teachers. This month, the vaccination process began for people 70 and older, with a 65+ age group lined up to receive vaccinations beginning in March. Derek Moss, nursing director at the Summit County Health Department, answered questions about the vaccine, its side effects, and how distribution has been.
Why is Summit County distributing the Moderna vaccine?
A lot of that has to do with storage requirements and the stability of the vaccine. Moderna has much more reasonable storage requirements for a smaller health department. The Pfizer vaccine requires an ultracold system that consists of dry ice changes. It’s just a much more complicated system. The other reason [Summit County is receiving Moderna] is that the Pfizer comes in pre-packaged (I call them ‘flats’) of 975 doses, and our allocation right now is far below that per week. The Moderna comes in 100-dose boxes and so where our allocation is, it’s below the minimum package requirements.
What are some side-effects of the Moderna vaccine?
Most people report a little bit of fatigue that second day [after the vaccine] but it usually only lasts one day. Some of the other side effects that have been reported are localized pain at the [injection] site and a couple people have reported a little bit of nausea. The second dose tends to hit people a little bit stronger, but with the same side effects. For myself, I did have a headache and some chills that night and I was good to go by morning. That’s pretty typical based upon the results that I’ve heard.
The V-Safe App is where people can report real-time side-effects they are experiencing. You can go to the Utah Department of Health website and get real-time percentages of people experiencing certain systems.
The software that we’ve chosen to use [to schedule out vaccines] is “VAMS” or Vaccine Administration Management System that the CDC has helped develop for this vaccination effort. V-Safe is built into VAMS. By signing up for an appointment, it will at least ask you to enroll in the V-Safe and report your symptoms.
How has the vaccination process gone so far in Summit County?
We’re doing great, actually. We are very efficient at getting our vaccines out. By the end of the week, we are net zero. We are able to get out all of the vaccines that we are allocated.
We do a drive-through system over at the Utah Film Studio and it has been working fantastic. We’ve asked for volunteers and this community has been amazing. I would say a much better response than most other counties. We’ve got a lot of active or retired doctors and nurses, pharmacists, that have really stepped up to help us out in this effort. We’re very lucky in this county, it’s a very giving county.
What’s your message to residents who may be hesitant to receive the vaccine?
Well, if you’re hesitant, the best thing you can do is to educate yourself. Utah Department of Health has an amazing website: Coronavirus.Utah.gov. It’s fantastic and very educational, up-to-date, succinct. The best thing I can say is: not to listen to the myths, and actually get facts. If you’re looking at the objective data, you can make an educated decision for yourself. This is extremely safe. This technology is extremely safe.
Visit the Summit County Health Department website and pre-register for the vaccine to receive information about eligibility.