With over 300 clinical trials on vaccines for COVID19, it perhaps is not a surprise that at least two are very close to emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration this month. Where are you in the line to get a vaccination? Well, if you have a loved one over age 65 still living independently, the answer is behind front line health care workers, other essential services workers, individuals with preexisting conditions that place them at particular risk. Yes, it will be a bit of a wait.
Government agencies are coordinating the access to a COVID vaccine, and they are also watching out for scams. Do not fall prey to that call or email that promises you easy or early access to a vaccine. So, how do you tell the good guys from the bad guys? Homeland Security and FDA have some suggestions:
- Vaccines will not be available on the internet…and that goes for any alleged treatments for COVID as well;
- Only sign-up for a vaccine through a licensed medical provider…and even then, be sure that they have been certified to provide a vaccine;
- COVID vaccines may at some point be available through your CVS or Walgreen’s pharmacy, but do not trust online pharmacies, especially those whose names are not familiar to you;
- Avoid any texts, emails or calls about a vaccine you can purchase…there will be no Cyber Monday or offshore providers for vaccine distribution;
- And COVID19 vaccines will not be available through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other online feeds.
And be aware that the global rollout of a COVID19 vaccine will not be like in the movies where a convoy of camouflage vehicles arrives in town with uniformed soldiers spilling out to set up tents for administering a vaccine. Hollywood does not get to set the stage here. There may be lines of people – socially distanced – waiting at a pharmacy or clinic for their injections, and get this, there may be no charge. All the details are not available just yet, but appreciate that the federal government already has forked over billions of dollars to a host of pharmaceutical giants to develop vaccines.
So, your tax dollars have covered this already.
If you receive a vaccine offer that is too good to be true, it likely is too good to be true. If you see (or hear) something, say something. Homeland Security wants to hear from you, and you can go online to report any kind of suspicious activity. Go to: COVID 19 investigations. But please refrain from “dancing in the streets” until at least 70% of the population has been vaccinated. Yes, that would be “herd immunity,” just not the kind that comes from so many people being sickened in order for it to happen. In the meantime, call or ZOOM a friend or family member. We all need some continued support to make it to the goal.
Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.