Spring 2021 COVID Vaccine Statement & Update
Our newest statement on vaccine use and distribution, new resources available to the liver community, and a call to action.
The American Liver Foundation (ALF) believes that everyone should strongly consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19 when they are able to do so. ALF’s belief aligns with the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), which recently released an Expert Panel Statement about COVID-19 vaccination practices. It states that, “Multiple studies demonstrate that older individuals and those with certain [diseases] including chronic liver disease (particularly cirrhosis) … and weakened immune systems … may be at higher risk of death from COVID-19.”
In the United States, two vaccines are currently available through an Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. Both are administered by intramuscular injection into the arm and require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 16 years of age and older, with doses administered three weeks (21 days) apart. The Moderna vaccine is approved for adults 18 years of age and older and the doses are given four weeks (28 days) apart. Other vaccines are in clinical trials but have not yet been granted Emergency Use Authorization in the United States. One promising vaccine on the horizon is a single-dose option by Johnson & Johnson.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both utilize mRNA technology – and do not contain live virus. Therefore, an individual cannot get COVID-19 from being vaccinated. The vaccines will stimulate an immune response. Those who are vaccinated may experience fever or other side effects as immunity against COVID-19 is established. If you have had a severe allergic reactions to a previous vaccine that required medical attention, you should speak with your health care provider before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Development of these vaccines has been accomplished in record time, but the demand for hundreds of millions of vaccine doses far outweighs the capabilities of the supply chain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established guidelines for a phased vaccination schedule but left the final decision on allocation and distribution to the discretion of each state.
Under current CDC guidelines, adults with chronic liver disease or underlying medical conditions are eligible for vaccination as part of Phase 1c of the rollout plan. The CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout Recommendations page is periodically amended and can be found here.
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in your area, visit your state or local health department’s website or call their office for more information. You may also want to check out the CDC’s COVID website, including their new COVID Vaccine finder tool.
For a list of upcoming ALF COVID events, actions you can take, and resources you can use, CLICK HERE.
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