With confirmed COVID-19 case counts rising to 14.8% in Sunnyside since January 1 – approaching record levels from last summer – many lower valley residents can look forward to a shot of healthy optimism in the arm.

To me, it felt like a Tetanus shot. My arm was stiff and sore at the injection site for a couple of days,” Director of Medical Staff Services at Astria Sunnyside Hospital and Yakima County Board Commissioner LaDon Linde expressed after receiving the first of two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination during an interview on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Linde planns to adhere to health protocols by wearing his protective face covering and following social distance guidelines.

He will receive a second shot of the vaccine in 28 days to complete the procedure and with a new found level of hopefulness administered into the muscle of his upper arm.

The new technology used in the vaccines is a critical tool in the national effort to stop the pandemic.

“As we get more people vaccinated, I’m very optimistic of what that could mean for us,” the commissioner explained. “I would encourage everybody to get the vaccination. I think it’s in everybody’s best interest.”

Linde believed an interesting component about the vaccines is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) request for people who receive the vaccine to participate in a symptoms tracking study by smartphone to report any side effects.

“They’re doing some realtime research on the effects of the vaccine, which I think is really a fabulous idea.”

County vaccine distribution

 Yakima County is engaged in vaccinating people in both Phase A1 and A2 of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. That phase includes high-risk workers in healthcare settings, first responders and long term care residents and staff.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Yakima Health District (YHD) reported the county has received 9,600 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines and administered 4,666 doses, according to the YHD media release.

All three federally qualified health centers, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, the Yakima Valley Farm Worker Clinic, and Community Health of Central Washington have received the COVID-19 vaccine, along with several local pharmacies.

The YHD update confirmed they are working to begin setting up mass vaccination sites in preparation for moving into Phase B of the COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The first tier, Phase B, will include people 70 years of age and over and people 50 and up who live in multi-generational households.

Officials estimate there are at least 30,000 Yakima County residents eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase B1.

Health District officials recommended residents eligible to make appointments before the next phase and to obtain the most current distribution information from YHD’s website. 

mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines

 The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is one of two newly developed vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. The two-shot vaccination — administered 28 days apart — is recommended for people aged 18 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Pfizer-BioNTech is a two-shot vaccination administered 21 days apart and recommended for people aged 16 years and older.

 People that have encountered an allergic reaction to any mRNA ingredient in the new COVID-19 vaccines are directed not to get either one. The full list of ingredients for both vaccines can be viewed at www.cdc.gov.

 After receiving the initial dose of the vaccine in the upper arm muscle, individuals experiencing an allergic or immediate reaction — even if it was not severe — are instructed not receive the second dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing, which is categorized as respiratory distress.

Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses with no evidence of being previously infected, the national health agency reported.

In clinical trials, symptoms or side effects that happened within seven days of getting vaccinated were common and mostly mild to moderate. Side effects, such as fever, chills, tiredness, and headache throughout the body were more common after the second dose of the vaccine.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email PShelby@SunnysideSun.com

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