Dear Valued Patient,
We have been overwhelmed with calls and emails asking about COVID vaccines. We know many of our patients are anxiously waiting for availability of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Lake Country Medical Group has registered with the state of Georgia to obtain and administer the vaccine, but as of today, we have not yet received approval. We currently are keeping a “waitlist” for vaccination, and we soon will have access to more Moderna vaccine. If you want to join the waitlist, please send us an email at email@example.com.
The Georgia Department of Public Health provides excellent information on the vaccines and timing. Georgia is currently in Phase 1A+ of distribution.
Once approval is granted for vaccine distribution through our practice, we will begin calling patients to schedule vaccination in alignment with the GPH Priority Group Phase. Appointments for second doses will be scheduled at the time of first dose administration.
Vaccination may also be available in community pharmacies — especially larger chains as well as through public health/county vaccination clinics.
Starting Thursday, March 25, all Georgians aged 16 years and older can get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Please note only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for people aged 16 to 17. All three FDA-approved vaccines — from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson — are available to those 18 and older.
It’s critical to schedule vaccination in advance as supplies are limited. To find vaccination sites — including appointment info for each one — check the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) website: https://dph.georgia.gov/locations/covid-vaccination-site
The goal of COVID vaccines is to provide the safest way to achieve herd immunity, where a large enough percentage of the population is protected, making the spread of disease from person to person less likely.
Lake County Medical Group Provides COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Partnership with University Cancer and Blood Center
Lake Country Medical Group (LCMG) provided a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Saturday, March 20th in partnership with the University Cancer and Blood Center (UCBC). In 3 hours, our combined team of over 40 volunteers gave a second dose of vaccine to around 250 patients. The patients received their first dose at a previous clinic held by LCMG and UCBC.
We thank the entire UCBC team, including Dr. Nikolinakos, Dr. Westin, Loretta Goodson and Blaine Bostelman, for their fantastic cooperation.
Eight of LCMG’s phenomenal interns supported the clinic. They were thrilled to participate! You can check out their experiences in the video below.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about vaccines to keep you better informed:
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified the safety of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines based on data gathered from tens of thousands of clinical trial participants. The FDA provides detailed information explaining how they approved each vaccine:
Click here for information about the Moderna vaccine.
Click here for information about the Pfizer vaccine.
The new Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine is waiting FDA approval and is expected mid-February.
Do COVID-19 vaccines have side effects?
As with any vaccine, there are some side effects associated with COVID-19 vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), common side effects — which usually disappear within days — include fever, chills, tiredness and headaches along with pain and swelling at the injection site.
However, some vaccine recipients have reported minor and severe allergic reactions. Visit the CDC website for detailed guidance about what to do if you experience an allergic reaction to vaccination.
Click here to download a handy infographic about what to expect from a COVID-19 vaccination.
How do COVID-19 vaccines work?
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA), a small molecule containing instructions for cells, to provide COVID-19 immunity. Once inside the body, the mRNA instructs your cells to replicate a harmless portion of the COVID-19 virus. The replicated virus portion triggers your immune response which, within weeks, makes you immune to COVID-19 without actually contracting it. The CDC provides more information about mRNA vaccines.
Can COVID-19 vaccines alter my DNA?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines cannot alter your DNA. The mRNA used in the vaccines never enters the nuclei of your cells, where DNA is contained, and thus has no chance of interaction with your DNA.
How many vaccine doses do I need?
Both currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines require two doses for maximum protection, according to the CDC.
Can I get COVID-19 from a vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any live virus and, therefore, cannot infect you with COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Do I need vaccination if I already had and recovered from COVID-19?
The CDC recommends vaccination even for those who have recovered from COVID-19. This is because COVID-19 reinfection is possible and the length of natural immunity COVID-19 is unknown.
Is COVID-19 vaccination recommended during pregnancy?
According to the CDC, pregnancy is associated with increased risk of severe COVID-19. However, there is only limited safety data available about vaccination during pregnancy. The CDC recommends consulting your doctor to see if vaccination during pregnancy is right for you.
Should I still wear a mask and social distance after getting vaccinated?
Although the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines reliably provide COVID-19 immunity, immunity is not immediate or absolutely guaranteed.
One vaccine dose is not enough for reliable protection, and it can take up to two weeks even after your second dose to gain immunity.
Even then, both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were less than 100% effective in clinical trials (both were closer to 95% effective) — and scientists aren’t certain the vaccines will protect against new variants of the virus. In other words, vaccinated people still have some risk of COVID-19 infection.
It’s also currently unclear if an immune person can still carry and transmit the virus to people who aren’t immune. So, even if you’re vaccinated and achieve immunity, you could still pose a risk of infecting unvaccinated people. The phased vaccine distribution means that many people around you — including friends and family — might not be vaccinated for a while and would have no protection from infection.
For these reasons, the CDC currently recommends maintaining masking and social distancing standards even if you’ve been vaccinated. This applies after your first dose as well as after your second one.
How can I report a problem or bad reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
If you have a severe reaction after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and leaving the vaccination site, please call 911 for emergency care.
For other problems and reactions, the CDC provides V-safe, a smartphone-based tool for reporting COVID-19 vaccination side effects.
New CDC Guidance for People Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19
The CDC has released updated guidance for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It gives Americans who are two weeks or more past their final shot more freedom to socialize and take part in routine daily activities. The new guidance is great news and will give many vaccinated grandparents who live near their unvaccinated children and grandchildren the chance to gather for the first time in a year. To learn more, please visit the CDC website.
Although Lake Country Medical Group does not conduct onsite rapid testing for COVID-19 infection, we have access to offsite rapid testing at the following locations:
- Jasper Memorial Hospital
898 College Street
Monticello, GA 31064
- Oconee Valley Healthcare
803 South Main Street
Greensboro, GA 30642
- Urgent Care of Oconee
1680 Eatonton Road, Suite A
Madison, GA 30650
2061 Experiment Station Road, Suite 505
Watkinsville, GA 30677
- Med-Lake Laboratory
100 Industrial Park Drive
Milledgeville, GA 31061
Further, we provide COVID-19 antibody testing through Quest Diagnostics. For more information about getting tested, please call: 706-485-4004
To protect patients and staff at our facility, we have implemented the following measures in accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 prevention guidelines:
- All patients receive a temperature check and are screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival.
- All Lake Country Medical Group team members receive daily COVID-19 symptom screenings and temperature checks.
- Our team members wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Equipment, which varies depending on the situation, can include masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.
- We ask that patients — along with accompanying family members — sanitize their hands upon arrival and wear masks for the duration of their visit.
- We limit the number of people in our facility and practice social distancing.
- We regularly and thoroughly clean our facility.
- We also offer telemedicine appointments, which allow patients to speak virtually to our care providers from any location with internet or phone coverage. For more information, please visit our telemedicine page.
COVID-19 Research at Lake Country Medical Group:
We are proud to host clinical trials related to COVID-19. We currently are seeking new participants for two separate COVID-19-related clinical trials. Please read below to learn how to participate in each of these important trials.
COVID-19 Prevention Study
We have partnered with Accel Research Sites and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to conduct a clinical trial of a therapeutic medicine that may prevent COVID-19.
We are currently seeking patients to participate in this clinical trial and have already begun treating some patients with the experimental medicine. There’s no cost to participate, and trial volunteers may be compensated up to $4,875.
You may qualify to participate in the study if you:
- Are at least 18 years old
- Have a household member who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 3 days or suspect they may have COVID-19
- Are currently not hospitalized, OR have not been previously hospitalized due to COVID-19
If you are interested in enrolling in this trial, please call Accel Research Sites at: 833-338-7425. You can also learn more at: http://www.covid19preventionstudy.com/
COVID-19 Vaccine Study
We have partnered with Accel Research Sites and Janssen Pharmaceuticals to conduct a clinical trial of potential COVID-19 vaccine.
We are currently seeking patients to participate in this clinical trial and have already started vaccinating some patients with the experimental vaccine. Qualified participants will receive study-related medical care and the investigational vaccine or placebo at no cost. Qualified participants will also be reimbursed for reasonable trial-related travel expenses to and from study visits. The study will not pay for other medical care or current medication(s) needed to support your daily healthcare routine.
You may qualify to participate in the study if you:
- Are at least 18 years old
- Are in good or stable health (you may have underlying medical conditions, if your symptoms and signs are stable and well-controlled)
Additional eligibility criteria will be assessed by the study doctor or staff. If you take part in this study, you will be in the study for up to 2 years and 3 months.
If you are interested in enrolling in this trial, please call Accel Research Sites at: 833-338-7425. You can also learn more at: www.ensemblestudy.com
For more information on COVID-19, please see the following resources:
- Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status Report: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report
- Georgia Department of Public Health Quarantine Guidance: https://dph.georgia.gov/contact
- CDC Information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 page: https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus
- World Health Organization (WHO) Information: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Tracker: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html