World Immunization Week: Vaccines Bring Us Closer

This week has been designated to bring awareness to the need for vaccines. Using the theme “Vaccines Bring Us Closer”, the World Health Organization is focusing on the good vaccines have done in our communities and the good the Covid vaccine can do to bring us back together and to some normalcy.

We’ve seen over 30 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and over 500,000 deaths. By working hard and working together, the scientists, researchers, medical experts, and members of the FDA were able to share more information and streamline the approval process for the Covid vaccines. Now, there are vaccines that have proven to be safe and effective in every trial and every review. This vaccine has more intense safety monitoring than any vaccine in US history!

Almost nobody has died as a direct result of the Covid vaccine, as compared to over 3 million people in the world who have died from Covid.

Of course, there are hesitations when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. These concerns are valid, everyone has a right to be aware of what is going in their body. Thankfully, these vaccine trials have been conducted with full transparency, under the supervision of America’s leading experts. While there is a lot of misinformation circulating in social media and elsewhere, there is factual info at

The FDA and a safety review board has granted emergency use of Moderna and Pfizer. At this writing, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is under review for a rare side effect that occurs in less than one in 1 million people – lower odds than being struck by lightening!

The chance of having severe side effects from the vaccine is only about 0.5%. The FDA also has a vaccine monitoring system, where people can report poor reactions to immunizations. This allows us to continuously monitor the safety of vaccines. Additionally, data will continue to be collected for two years after vaccine administration, to guarantee long term safety. There is the likelihood of mild side effects such as slight fever or body aches, but this is just a sign that your body is building up protection.

Through these vaccines we are getting closer to returning to normal while keeping our friends and family safe. The death rate is starting to fall as more and more people get vaccinated. We will be able to repair the economic and emotional damage caused by lockdowns, prevent sickness and death to ourselves and loved ones, and move towards a COVID-19 free world. However, most people need to be vaccinated to prevent future surges of the illness. Every unvaccinated person has a chance of not only getting the disease, but also giving the disease more chances to mutate into a stronger variant that can kill more people.

Every person over the age of 16 is eligible now to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have questions about the safety or efficacy of vaccines, speak with your doctor. Shenandoah Community Health Clinic, as well as other health agencies, have the Covid vaccine and want to help you protect yourselves, your family and our community.  Call our Clinic at 540-459-1700 if you’d like to schedule a free vaccination.

Has COVID Negatively Impacting Your Relationship?

Has COVID Negatively Impacting Your Relationship?

You’re not alone. While COVID, on its own, has no actual effect on your personal relationships, everything about our lives has been changed in a matter of months – which does have a huge effect on your relationships, as well as your mental health.

It Has Amplified Prior Stressors

The most common relationship stressors have been amplified by the secondary consequences of the COVID pandemic. Financial concerns, division of labor, medical concerns are amplified and increased by a reduction in resources normally accessed to assist us. Many couples are experiencing a sudden loss of privacy, increased isolation from previously utilized outlets, and loss of outside socialization and support systems

Also Increased and Shifted Household Duties

Working from home is hard. And even basic tasks like washing the dishes or going grocery shopping are becoming a struggle. According to Mental Health America, more people than ever before are wondering if they have anxiety or depression. This isn’t a coincidence; it’s a natural reaction to an ongoing traumatic event, such as a global pandemic.

If you are parenting school age children, you have been assigned an even greater task of playing role of teacher as well. If your children are in a hybrid school model there is the challenge of juggling schedules to ensure all family members are keeping up with their responsibilities

So What Can You Do?

View this time together as an opportunity to develop new, even perhaps healthier habits, activities and interests that you can do together such as: going for a walk, a run, a hike or a bike ride.

Spring is an exciting and beautiful time in the Valley. Get in the car and explore a country road; take a picnic lunch.

Stay connected with family and friends through technology; get together virtually with other couples, friends and family – plan a virtual dinner or a game night.

Create activities to look forward to even if they are small; tackle a household project that has been on your “to do” list

Don’t panic. Our lead counselor, Clare, recommends having an open and honest conversation with your partner where you each can identify strengths and weaknesses, and decide a plan of action that best suits your family. It’s so important to be mindful of yourself and your partner, and help support one another through these challenging times.

There’s no easy way to fix mental health or relationship problems during a pandemic, but if you want some additional help, we are here for you.

Want to make an appointment? Get in touch!

What You Can and Can’t Do After Getting the COVID Vaccine

If you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, you may be making plans to visit friends and family. But there are some important things to keep in mind.

Remember: the vaccine only protects you. Friends and family members who are not vaccinated are still at risk for COVID-19.

Even after you receive the vaccine, it is important to continue using all the tools available to help stop the spread of the virus.

How to continue to Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19:

  • Wear a face mask over your nose and mouth
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often

Here are answers to come COVID-19 vaccine questions.

When will I be protected after I receive the COVID vaccine?

It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until about 2 weeks after your second shot. For COVID-19 vaccines that require 1 shot, it takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for your body to build protection.

I’m vaccinated. Is it safe for me to be around people who haven’t been vaccinated?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines Monday, March 8 designed to ease restrictions for Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The agency’s guidance state those who have received a full course of COVID-19 vaccine may get together with other fully vaccinated individuals in small groups inside their homes without masks or physical distancing. They can also visit with unvaccinated people from one other household who are at low risk for severe disease.

The guidelines also say fully vaccinated people don’t need to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test if they’ve been exposed, unless they’re symptomatic. However, they should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days even if they’re not in quarantine.

When can I be around people from a different household?

To put an end to the pandemic, we need to achieve herd immunity. This happens when enough people build up immunity that the virus struggles to spread.

Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns or people who are allergic to the vaccine. The percentage of people who need to have protection to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.

Can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The first step to get the Covid-19 vaccine is to preregister so that you can be informed when it is your turn: Local health departments are scheduling large vaccination events and will notify you when you qualify according to the information you submit to them.

As of March 1st, 2020 Virginia is in vaccination phases 1A and 1B. This limits eligibility to get the Covid vaccine to specific categories of people: healthcare workers, long-term care residents, adults age 65+, people age 16-64 with underlying medical conditions, those living in correctional facilities, migrant labor camps, homeless shelters, and frontline essential workers.

To accommodate the limited supply of vaccines, frontline essential workers are prioritized to get the Covid-19 vaccine in a specific order. To check the priority order you may visit the Virginia Department of Health website (COVID-19 Vaccine – Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine). Most frontline essential workers will participate in employee-sponsored vaccination clinics, but pharmacies, local health departments, and health care providers are also working to vaccinate essential workers. You should contact your employer if you are a frontline worker to confirm your vaccine schedule and availability.

If you believe that you have an underlying medical condition that may qualify you to get the COVID-19 vaccine, check the CDCs list of high-risk medical conditions (Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness | CDC).

Those who are 65+ or high risk due to health conditions will get the Covid-19 vaccine through healthcare providers and local health departments. A local link to check is CVS is also offering vaccinations for seniors 65+, also by appointment only. Appointments fill quickly but they are updating their availability regularly. Check this website often as appointments go quickly (COVID Vaccine (COVID-19 Immunization Updates) | CVS Pharmacy).

Shenandoah Community Health Clinic does not currently have vaccines, but once we have them, eligible patients and community members will be offered a vaccination. It’s important to frequently check with your local healthcare systems and health department to secure a vaccination slot at the earliest opportunity. The faster Americans are vaccinated, the faster we can all return to a more normal lifestyle. The process may take time, but eventually, everyone who wants it will be able to get the Covid-19 vaccine.