The first round of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer is currently being given to providers and staff at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. You can look for many of our providers and care givers to be protected against this virus, so they can better provide you with care you need in a safe way. This is a major step in the fight against COVID-19.
Gillette staff, who are in what the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) determined is Phase 1A, started receiving vaccinations on Dec. 23.
Gillette is following the protocols from the MDH and our board-certified infectious disease team is leading our vaccine program. The initial focus at Gillette is to ensure staff and providers who are providing direct patient care and have increased transmission risk are among the first people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes our critical care and hospitalist teams, resource teams, respiratory care as well as COVID testers, COVID vaccinators, maintenance and Environment of Care team members. We expect to get more shipments of the vaccine for other Gillette team members in the coming weeks.
Many of our employees who have received the vaccine will be wearing a sticker provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicating that they have received the vaccine. You may also ask your care provider if they have been vaccinated.
Throughout this pandemic, Gillette has focused on protecting our community by wearing masks and protective gear, washing our hands, keeping our environment clean and social distancing. The vaccine is another tool in our efforts to combat COVID-19. We are proud to serve and protect our community by responsibly distributing a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
It is important for everyone to stay vigilant and to follow the recommendations of the MDH so we can curb the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should continue to wear face masks, wash their hands frequently, practice social distancing and take other safety steps.
We know our patients and families have questions about the new COVID-19 vaccines. We hope some of your questions are answered in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below:
Your COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions:
Can children receive the vaccine?
The two COVID-19 vaccines that the FDA has authorized for use are not currently approved for use in children under the age of 16 (Pfizer) and under the age of 18 (Moderna). It will not be able to be given to children. Vaccine manufacturers have started to expand vaccine trials to include some children and we expect guidelines for children to be issued following additional data from these studies.
Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccination at Gillette Children’s?
Not right now. As noted above, these initial vaccines will not be given to children. The current mandatory guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are initially focused on first vaccinating frontline health care employees. During the first wave of vaccination distribution, Gillette Children’s will not be administering the COVID-19 vaccine to patients or their family members. We will update our patients and families as more vaccines become available and new people become eligible to get it.
My child has a complex medical condition and is at a higher risk for developing complications from contracting COVID-19 – will they get prioritization over other kids?
The current FDA guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccine only authorize use of the vaccine for people 16 years of age or older. Gillette, however, is working to help government agencies understand that once the vaccines are authorized for use by children, children with complex medical conditions should be on a priority list. We are also advocating for prioritizing the wide range of direct service professionals who provide health care supports for children with complex medical conditions outside of the hospital and clinic setting.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same safety standards as other routine vaccines. Companies making the vaccines are required to share information with government agencies such as the FDA and CDC that shows how the vaccine studies were designed, what their process was, how they got their data and what the results were. More information about the vaccine safety protocols can be found on the CDC’s COVID-19 page.