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COVID-19 Vaccine for DSPs: What You Should Know

Healthcare workers, direct support professionals (DSPs), and others in similar fields are considered essential workers. As such, these professionals are first in line for the new COVID-19 vaccine. Direct Care Innovations understands the COVID-19 vaccine for DSPs has been met with some reservations, however. Therefore, this article covers some of the questions people are asking and how experts address them.

COVID-19 Vaccine for DSPs: What You Should Know

Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Give You COVID-19?

No. Historically, vaccines contained a weakened version of the virus it was intended to prevent. The vaccination introduced the weakened live virus and the other vaccine ingredients into the body, which activated the body’s immune response to develop antibodies against the virus, thereby achieving immunity. In contrast, the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain live virus. Instead, it consists of mRNA, which is the blueprint or code that tells your cells how to create a specific protein. In the COVID-19 virus case, this results in production of the COVID-19 spike protein, which then prompts an immune system response to that specific protein. Antibodies to the spike protein can neutralize the virus; thus, the net result is the same, but without introducing a live virus into your system.

What Are Common Side Effects?

Many people experience some pain at the site of the injection. Some people experience fatigue and flu-like symptoms.

What Happens After My First Vaccination?

The vaccine is 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed illness; however, it requires two shots spaced apart by 10-28 days. Full efficacy does not occur until approximately two weeks after the second vaccination delivery. 

How Did the Vaccine Make It to Market So Quickly?

Historically, vaccines have taken years to develop. In contrast, the COVID-19 vaccine took less than one year to develop, for several key reasons.  First, advancements in molecular medicine have accelerated the process of vaccine design. Second, vaccines typically are developed in deliberate steps, because each step is extremely costly. However, Former President Donald Trump initiated Project Warp Speed, which provided government funding so that the steps could be done at the same time (for example, producing huge quantities of the vaccine at the same time it was still being tested in patients). Finally, the review and approval by the FDA was performed on an accelerated timeline, because of the vaccine’s ability to address an emergency medical crisis. It is important to note the COVID-19 vaccine still went through the required clinical trial process and received rigorous review by the FDA.

What About the People for Whom I Provide Care?

COVID-19 occurs three times more often in those with intellectual disabilities, according to Dr. Rick Rader, MD, a NADSP Medical Advisor and biochemist. The elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk of significant disease and death. DSPs who are vaccinated will protect themselves and the vulnerable populations they serve. Moreover, DSPs are encouraged to talk to those they care for and provide information about the vaccine to alleviate their fears and concerns.

COVID-19 Vaccine for DSPs: Can I Decline the Vaccine?

Yes, you may decline the vaccine, and people do so for a few reasons. The first is due to medical issues; these primarily are individuals who have a history of intolerance to medications and severe allergies requiring the use of an epi-pen. The second is due to religious beliefs, and the third is simply a personal choice. Currently, we are not aware of anyone requiring the use of the vaccine for employment purposes. 

What Else Should I Know?

First, experts say that after being vaccinated, you should still operate the same way you do today . This includes wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly, and social distancing.

Also, this vaccine is the first of its kind. The benefits of an mRNA vaccine are many, including a vaccine that doesn’t introduce a live virus into the body, the ability to produce it quickly, the reduced cost of production compared to historical vaccines, and the ability to scale production. 

The potential downside is, to some degree, a bit uncertain. Because this is the first vaccine of its kind, there are still some unknowns. One is not fully understanding what happens when the particles break down before entering the cell. Another is the potential long-term effects on other body systems, including hormones and the immune system.

DCI Cares About DSPs

Experts are excited about the COVID-19 vaccine for DSPs and the general public, for both its efficacy and the far-reaching benefits it could yield. More than 100 million people have taken the vaccine so far, and the scientific and medical communities are thrilled. DCI clients in all 50 fifty states make up part of those communities, and we hope the questions covered here are helpful to you, our clients. We’re here to support your business. Call us at (480) 295-3307, not just for EVV solutions and business management software but also industry information and compassionate support.

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