The COVID-19 Vaccine

Get the facts, then get vaccinated

Studies show that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Some people will test positive for the virus even after they are vaccinated, but all three vaccinations (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are highly effective in preventing symptomatic infections, hospitalizations, and death. In fact, more than 99% of people who die today from COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Every death and serious illness is preventable today. We know there are a lot of rumors, myths and misinformation out there making it hard for some people to get the vaccine. Our physicians have gathered the most common questions and concerns they are hearing from patients about the COVID-19 vaccine and providing the facts to help more people get vaccinated. Afterall, the vaccine is our very best shot for ending this pandemic.


What You Need to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine:

• COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
• COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
• You may have side effects after vaccination. These are normal and should go away in a few days.
• It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. You are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.
• After you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic.
• COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials.
• The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA) with formal FDA approval imminent and likely soon.
• These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
• This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe
• Permanent FDA approval is expected


What We Are Still Learning About the COVID-19 Vaccine

• How well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, including people who take medicines that suppress the immune system
• How long COVID-19 vaccines protect people
• How many people have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the population can be considered protected (population immunity)
• How effective the vaccines are against new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19

What impact is the Delta Variant having on the urgency to get vaccinated?

• Rapidly spreading and now responsible for over 51% of new US cases, up from 30% two weeks ago
• 60% more transmissible than original COVID-19 strain
• States with low vaccination rates experiencing increase in new cases
• Vaccine protects against transmission so the more we vaccinate, the more we decrease chances of “escape variant” against which the vaccines would not work
• All three currently approved vaccines are highly effective in preventing symptomatic infections, hospitalizations and deaths
Why vaccinate when there are effective COVID-19 treatments?
• With proven effective treatments such as remdesivir, polyclonal antibodies, dexamethasone, deaths are still occurring
• Treatment will not curb the spread of this virus
• Preventing infection with vaccination also prevents long-term complications (Long-haul COVID)
• We fully support continued research into effective treatments


Do I need to get a booster dose of the vaccine?

• It may be required if there’s evidence that the vaccine’s protection against the virus weakens over time or if variants arise that require a booster. The FDA and ACIP (Advisory Community on Immunization Practices) continue to review data and will provide recommendations for boosters based on evidence and safety.


When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster?

• Not immediately. The goal is for people to start receiving a COVID-19 booster shot beginning in the fall, with individuals being eligible starting 8 months after they received their second dose of an mRNA vaccine (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). This is subject to authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommendation by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). FDA is conducting an independent evaluation to determine the safety and effectiveness of a booster dose of the mRNA vaccines. ACIP will decide whether to issue a booster dose recommendation based on a thorough review of the evidence.


If we need a booster dose, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?

• No. COVID-19 vaccines are working very well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, with the Delta variant, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. For that reason, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning for a booster shot so vaccinated people maintain protection over the coming months.


What’s the difference between a booster dose and an additional dose?

• Sometimes people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised do not build enough (or any) protection when they first get a vaccination. When this happens, getting another dose of the vaccine can sometimes help them build more protection against the disease. This appears to be the case for some immunocompromised people and COVID-19 vaccines. CDC recommends moderately to severely immunocompromised people consider receiving an additional (third) dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) at least 28 days after the completion of the initial two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.
• In contrast, a “booster dose” refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity). HHS has developed a plan to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots to people this fall. Implementation of the plan is subject to FDA’s authorization and ACIP’s recommendation.

Why is vaccination necessary if I had COVID-19 and likely have antibodies?

• Vaccination produces a higher level of and longer lasting immunity than natural infection. This is uncommon in many illnesses but is true in COVID-19
• Vaccination produces broader protection against variants


We take safety seriously. That is why Trinity Health and IHA require colleagues, clinical staff, and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19. You can read more about our decision here: bit.ly/3jX5RGV


Do you need to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination? Click below to find a time and place that works best for you and your family.

Hiring In-home services or repairs

Source: Centers for Disease Control

CDC offers the following tips for staying safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19 while scheduling services or repairs inside the home. This may include installation and repair of plumbing, electrical, heating, or air conditioning systems; painting; or cleaning services.

In general, the closer and longer you interact with others, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Limiting close face-to-face contact and staying at least 6 feet away from other people is the best way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, along with wearing masks and practicing everyday preventive actions. Before welcoming service providers into your home, consider these tips to help keep you, your family, and the service provider safe during in-home services or repairs:

BEFORE THE VISIT

  • Check with your local health department to see if there is a stay-at-home order in your state or local community that restricts non-essential activities or services. If a stay-at-home order is in effect in your community, consider if the service request is essential or if it can be delayed.
  • If you or someone in your home has COVID-19, has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, wait to schedule non-emergency services that require entry into your home until it is safe to be around others.
  • If you or someone in your home is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with underlying medical conditions, consider not being inside the home during the service, or find someone else who can be in the home instead.
  • Do as much of the pre-service consultation as possible before the service provider arrives, to reduce the amount of time the service provider spends inside your home. For example, discuss the details of the service request on the phone or by email, and send pictures ahead of time.
  • Discuss any COVID-19 precautions the service provider is taking, including the use of masks for the duration of the service visit, any pre-screening procedures (such as temperature checks) and using the restroom during the service call.


DURING THE VISIT

  • Do not allow service providers to enter your home if they seem sick or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Ask the service provider to wear a mask before entering your home and during the service visit. Also, you and other household members should wear a mask. Consider having clean, spare masks to offer to service providers if their cloth face covering becomes wet, contaminated or otherwise soiled during the service call.
  • Avoid physical greetings, for example, handshakes.
  • Minimize indoor conversations. All conversations with the service providers should take place outdoors, when possible, and physically distanced indoors, if necessary.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the service provider, and limit interactions between the service provider and other household members and pets.
  • During indoor services, take steps to maximize ventilation inside the home, such as turning on the air conditioner or opening windows in the area.


AFTER THE VISIT

  • If possible, use touchless payment options or pay over the phone to avoid touching money, a card, or a keypad. If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after paying.
  • After the service is completed, clean and disinfect any surfaces in your home that may have been touched by the service provider.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to be tested, Save Your Spot at Fever and Upper Respiratory Illness Clinic at an IHA Urgent Care near you.

Mosquito Buzz

6 Tips to Prevent Mosquito Bites & Viruses

More than a pest, mosquitoes can carry and spread dangerous diseases to both humans and animals. And, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause and spread illness. The only way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses is to avoid being bitten by them. Since we still have many weeks of mosquitoes, until the nighttime temperatures consistently fall below freezing, The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued the following recommendations to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites:

  1. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. For those that work outdoors or cannot avoid being outdoors at dusk or dawn, be diligent about using insect repellent, and cover as much of your skin as possible.
  2. Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  3. Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET or other EPA – approved product to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  4. Use nets over outdoor eating areas.
  5. Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
  6. Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.

If you’re concerned about or experiencing symptoms from a mosquito bite, reach out to your primary care physician: Make An Appointment

Or visit an Urgent Care location near you: Save Your Spot

Men and Cancer

Screening for the most common cancers in men

Each year 300,000 men die from cancer in the United States. The most common types that affect men include skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colorectal (colon) cancer. Luckily, there are screening tests available that can detect cancer before you start seeing or feeling symptoms. This early detection can save lives. This Father’s Day we’re encouraging the men in our lives to focus on their health and schedule cancer screenings when recommended by a physician.

Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Unless you are considered high risk, a colon cancer screening is typically done starting at age 50 and continue on a regular schedule through age 75. This screening can be done using a few different methods including, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or fecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Your physician will recommend a screening schedule depending on the type of test used.

If you think you may be at risk for colorectal cancer ask your doctor when you should begin screening, which type of screening is best for you and how often you should be screened.

Prostate Cancer

The second most common cancer in American men, Prostate Cancer occurs when cancer grows in the prostate, a part of the male reproductive system. There are two tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer: Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test and the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE). There are risks associated with screening, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Before deciding whether to be screened, patients and physicians should discuss the balance of benefits and harms based on family history, race/ethnicity, current health, and any other health needs.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US. It often doesn’t present symptoms until the cancer is in an advanced stage. For high risk individuals, a screening may be done when the patient is asymptomatic in an effort to diagnose and treat the cancer early on. If you are 55 to 80 years old and are a heavy smoker or a past smoker who quit within the last 15 years, talk with your doctor about having a low-dose CT scan every year.

Skin Cancer

Most cases of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, tanning beds, or sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells. In the short term, this damage can cause a sunburn. Over time, UV damage adds up, leading to changes in skin texture, premature skin aging, and sometimes skin cancer. UV rays also have been linked to eye conditions such as cataracts. Skin cancer screening can begin at home. Examine your body on a regular basis noting any new or unusual moles or changes to the skin. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have and whether or not you may be high risk for developing skin cancer.

Staying current with recommended screenings is important, but staying healthy involves daily effort.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit it to no more than two drinks a day
  • Don’t smoke
  • Protect your skin from the sun and avoid tanning beds
  • Get a checkup every year

Is it time for your annual physical? Scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician is easy! Click below to make an appointment online, or call your practice to schedule.

Celebrating Safely

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Holiday safety tips for a fun and festive 4th of July

This Fourth of July, more than ever, we are looking forward to celebrating with family and friends.  Although some of the restrictions around COVID-19 have been relaxed, there are some other health concerns to consider.  Follow these safety reminders to keep yourself and your family safe this holiday weekend.

Firework Safety

Fireworks are a favorite tradition and for the Fourth of July, but they can cause death and injury, including burns, cuts, bruises, and foreign objects in your eyes.

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
  • Designate the people who will be responsible for igniting fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper, which often means they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumers.
  • Make sure you and your family watch fireworks displays from a safe distance. Draw a line using chalk or string, so children have a visual indicator not to cross and get too close to where the fireworks are being launched.
  • Call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.

Food Safety

Hot weather and food that’s been left out a little too long are a recipe for a stomachache. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the summer months typically see a spike in reports of foodborne illness.  Whether hosting or attending a 4th of July picnic or BBQ, follow these tips to ensure you and your family

  • Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry and ready to eat foods, like raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs.
  • Don’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours – one hour if the outside temperature is over 90 degrees. Keep perishable food in an insulated cooler packed with ice or ice packs. If you are not the host or hostess and are unsure about how food is being handled, consider bringing your own cooler of food.

Pool Safety

According to the CDC, drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1 to 4 years old than any other cause except birth defects.

  • Designate a responsible adult to watch all children swimming or playing in or around water. Drowning occurs quickly and quietly, so adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while supervising children. If there are multiple children swimming, have multiple adults to supervise, each assigned to monitor specific children.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
  • Always swim with a buddy. Whenever possible choose swimming sites that have lifeguards.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
  • Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous.

Heat Safety

From parades to fireworks, the Fourth of July typically means a lot of time outdoors and in the sun. In hot temperatures your body may be unable to properly cool itself. This could lead to serious health problems.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay in the shade when you can, and when you can’t, create your own shade. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher – the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels.

Bug Safety

Uninvited party guests like mosquitoes, ticks, and some flies can spread diseases like Zika, dengue and Lyme disease. They’re also really annoying and their bites can cause pain, itching and in some cases, an allergic reaction.

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET for protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs. Remember always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
  • If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat. Tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your socks for maximum protection, especially if walking in a grassy area.
  • Check yourself and your children for ticks. Learn more about ticks and how to remove one from your skin: blog.ihacares.com/tick-tick-boom/

Despite taking precautions, illness and injury can still happen. IHA and St. Joe’s Medical Group Urgent Care locations will be open this holiday weekend to care for you and your family. Click below to save your spot in line at an urgent care near you.

Summer (Fruit) Snacks

Thirst-quenching and healthy snacks perfect for hot days

School is wrapping up for the year and families are heading outside to enjoy the summer. All that time out in the sun means sweating, which may put you at risk for dehydration, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as skin sensitivities. Eating fresh, in-season fruit is a great way to combat the effects of summer heat. Try one – or several – of these picks next time you head out(side).  

  • Watermelon: It’s a summer picnic staple and at 90% water means it’s great for hydrating. Watermelon is also high in cramp fighting potassium, the antioxidant lycopene and immune-booster gluathione.
  • Grapes: At 90% water, grapes are the perfect summer snack. They are also a great source of vitamin K and manganese. Plus, with a bit of fiber, they keep you feeling full.
  • Blackberries: This powerhouse of a fruit contains a lot of polyphenols, chemicals that can help cut inflammation that leads to heart disease. They also help your lower intestine break down sugar which could lower your odds of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Bananas: Before you go bananas working out, be sure you have a banana on hand. They can help your body recover from tough workouts, and some cyclists said having a banana before they ride helped them go faster and recover faster than those that only had water.
  • Pistachios: Rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals, this small, but mighty snack is also high in antioxidants and may help with inflammation. Plus, about 20 of them is only around 80 calories and less than a gram of saturated fat. You may even burn a couple calories cracking them open!
  • Lemons: Not just a pretty garnish, lemons and limes are packed with antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids. Try one in your next glass of water.
  • Kiwis: This little fruit is mean, green, germ-fighting machine! Rich in vitamins C, E and K, high in fiber and contains lutein which may protect eyes from some diseases. Like the banana, the kiwi also has some potassium, a must have for heart, muscles, nerves and more.
  • Strawberries: This summer staple if full of vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and folic acid.
  • Blueberries: When it comes to antioxidants, this is a blue-ribbon berry. They give the digestive system a boost, with up to 14% of your daily fiber intake and contain vitamin c you need to promote healing and give your immune system a boost.
  • Peaches:  You’ll feel peachy after you have one. A single peach can give you 10% or more of the vitamin C you need each day. A great way to boost your immune system and help your body’s ability to heal.
  • Pineapple: This fruit tray favorite is full of vitamin C, has some fiber to help your digestive track, bromelain, an enzyme that may ease inflammation, and manganese for muscle tone and bone health. Plus, one cup contains only 82 calories!
  • Avocados: Another great source of potassium. Avocados are full of heart-healthy fats and fiber, vitamins
  • Cherries: Delicious as they are healthy, grab a bag of cherries and you’ll get the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidant quercetin. Not to mention, help kill cancer cells, control blood sugar and help prevent heart disease.
  • Cantaloupe: Sliced, cubed or blended into a smoothie, the cantaloupe is rich in potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Chilled, it’s the perfect summer afternoon treat.

Tick, Tick, Boom

Cicadas have been getting all the buzz this season with their big emergence after 17 years, but another insect is experiencing an uptick in its population. With the warm, wet weather early this spring, we are seeing a boom in the tick population here in Michigan.

Where do ticks live?

When visiting grassy, bushy or wooded areas, you can expect to find ticks. You may also find them in your backyard if you live close to areas like this or in places where there are animals. Activities like walking outside with your dog, gardening and hunting can expose you and your family to ticks.

How do I avoid ticks?

  • When possible avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass or leaf litter
  • Walk in the center of trails and don’t veer off paths into the woods
  • Treat clothing or exposed skin with insect repellents when venturing into areas where ticks may be present. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of registered insect repellents to help you find the product that best suits your needs: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you Always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
  • Animals may also bring ticks into your home. Be sure to use tick repellant on your dogs and cats too. There are many tick treatments available including collars, oral medications and topical medications.

What should I do when I come inside?

If you’ve been outside walking or working in an area that may have ticks, there are a few things you can do when you come in to help avoid a tick bite.

Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.

Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around the hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist
Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

What is the best tick repellant?

The CDC recommends using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents external icon containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Remember always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.

What are the risks of a tick bite?

The most common disease spread by ticks is Lyme Disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms often include “fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.”

While there are many other tick-borne illnesses, many of them are not common in the state of Michigan. If you plan to travel visit https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/tickbornediseases/overview.html to know what to look for if you experience a tick bite in other parts of the country.

What should you do if you find a tick attached to your skin?

If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic—the key is to remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers work very well.

How to remove a tick:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, place it on a plain background and take a photo of it. It helps to have a photo of the actual tick that bit you to show your healthcare provider, in the event you develop symptoms of a tick-borne illness.
  4. Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  5. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

What should you do if you develop symptoms of a tick-borne illness?

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, make an appointment with your primary care or pediatric healthcare provider. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick. If you were able to take a photo of the tick that bit you, be sure to share that with your provider as well.

Print this handout from the CDC to keep in your car or on your refrigerator for a quick tick refresher.

The COVID-19 Vaccines

Get your questions answered here.

The COVID-19 vaccines are our best shot for ending the pandemic. But as expected with anything new, you may have some questions before you schedule your vaccine. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions we’re hearing about the COVID-19 vaccines in our vaccine clinics. Get the facts and then get your shot!

How do I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Patients over the age of 18 can schedule their COVID-19 vaccine online here:

Patients age 16 to 17 can only schedule at specific clinic locations, please ensure the clinic says *16-17 before proceeding to schedule online. If you schedule at a clinic that does not have the capability to vaccinate a 16 or 17-year-old, your vaccine appointment will be canceled and there is no guarantee we will be able to accommodate you at a different location.

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I get?

No, IHA & St. Joe’s Medical Group have received a supply of each of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines, however the daily supply at each vaccine clinic changes, so we are not able to determine ahead of time which will be available and which you will receive. Our staff will help you schedule your second dose of the vaccine when you receive your first. 

Will I be charged when I receive the COVID-19 vaccine at IHA?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying condition?

Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. People with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.

What happens if I have an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?

After you receive your COVID-19 vaccine, you will sit in a waiting area for monitoring with IHA providers present, for 15 minutes. If at any point you aren’t feeling well, communicate with an IHA provider and they will get you the care you need immediately. If you experience a severe allergic reaction after leaving a vaccine site, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

Should I get the vaccine if I had COVID-19?

Yes. You should get the COVID-19 vaccine whether or not you’ve previously tested positive for COVID-19. The vaccine will produce a stronger immune system response than a natural infection.

I am currently sick with COVID-19, can I get vaccinated?

No. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

Who should NOT get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine if you had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of the vaccine or had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of the vaccine.

What are the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4- hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine contains the following ingredients: messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate trihydrate, and sucrose.


Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and how you can get vaccinated at an IHA vaccine clinic.

Diagnosing COVID-19

What you need to know about testing for COIVD-19.

What is the difference between a PCR test and a Rapid Antigen test for COVID-19?

IHA currently offers two types of diagnostic tests for COVID-19:

  1. Antigen test (frequently referred to as a rapid test). This test detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus. Turnaround time for results is usually very quick and, in some cases, results can be reported in 15 minutes.
  2. PCR test. PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” in COVID-19  (SARS-CoV-2) detection. This test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even when the patient is asymptomatic. Turnaround time is longer than the antigen test, results take approximately 2-5 days to return. Some rapid testing could have a quicker turnaround time. Result turnaround times will fluctuate based on the community testing demand but can take up to 5 days and sometimes even longer.

How do I know which test I should get?

Discuss your personal situation with a healthcare provider to receive the best guidance on the most appropriate test. A rapid antigen test can be used when a patient is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  Positive results from an antigen test are highly accurate, and while false positives can occur, they are rare. If your antigen test is negative, your healthcare provider may recommend that you have a confirmatory PCR test.

Should I wait until I have symptoms to get a COVID-19 test?

We recommend waiting 5-7 days post exposure to COVID-19 before getting tested unless you develop symptoms of COVID-19.  If a PCR test is negative and the patient remains asymptomatic, we recommend quarantining for 14 days from time of exposure.

What is a COVID-19 antibody test?

Antibody, or serology, tests look for antibodies in your blood to determine if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies can usually be detected in a person’s blood 2 – 3 weeks after symptoms begin. An Antibody test cannot be used to diagnose an active infection and is not recommended for patients currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

What tests are available for antibody tests?

COVID-19 antibody testing is done through a blood draw. A laboratory test order is required to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies and the test can be completed with other bloodwork if appropriate. Talk with your provider if you think a COVID-19 antibody test is appropriate for you.

If I got the COVID-19 vaccine, will my antibody test come back positive?

Maybe. The vaccine is intended to induce an immune response, so the antibody test (serology test) may be positive in someone who has been vaccinated.


Learn more about the COVID-19 testing and how you can get tested if you need to.

The COVID-19 vaccines are our best shot for ending the pandemic. Schedule your vaccine at an IHA Vaccine Clinic near you.

Bike Helmet Safety

Get the proper fit in a snap!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more children ages 5-14 go to the emergency room for bicycle-related injuries than any other sport; many with head injuries. Like car crashes, bicycle crashes can happen at any time, involving not only children, but adults, many of whom are skilled riders. In fact, middle-age adults represent the average age of bicycle riders killed and injured. When it comes to bicycle crashes, helmets are the single most effective piece of safety equipment for riders of all ages. As you get the family bicycles out for the season and dust-off last year’s helmets, here are some important reminders to ensure all riders are properly protected all season long.

Get the right fit from the start.

Helmets come in various sizes, just like hats. Size can vary between manufacturers. Download this guide from the NHTSA and follow the steps to fit a helmet properly.

When to replace a helmet.

If you’ve been in a crash with your helmet, damage to your helmet won’t always be visible. Always replace a helmet that’s been in a crash, even if it appears to be intact. And never purchase a used helmet since you can’t be sure of its history.  

Your bike helmet should fit today.

When shopping for a new bike helmet, purchase one that fits now. A bike helmet is not something that you “grow into”. If the helmet is too large, it won’t fit properly and won’t provide the protection you need. With each ride, readjust the helmet as needed.

Cover your forehead.

Adjust the helmet fitting based on your helmet first being in the correct position, level on the head and low on your forehead.

Adjust straps until snug.

You’ll find chin straps and side straps on your helmet. Both should be snug before you take off.

Avoid helmet rocking.

Your helmet should not rock more than an inch forward or backward or side to side on your head. If the helmet is loose or rocking, readjust.

Love your helmet.

If you love your helmet, you’ll wear it. This means it must fit comfortably and let’s face it, it has to be pretty. It’s true for kids and adults alike, if you like the way your helmet looks and feels, you’ll be more willing to put it on.

Be a good “roll” model.

Both adults and children should wear a bike helmet each and every time they ride. Wearing a helmet will set a good example and encourage smart choices in others.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration