COVID-19 Vaccine Update from the American Liver Foundation
You have probably seen on the news that there are now approved vaccines for COVID-19. The vaccines have begun to be distributed and administered to healthcare workers within the United States. We want to provide some additional information about the vaccine and how it will be distributed.
The vaccine is currently available in limited supply within the United States. The people who will be receiving it first are healthcare personnel and residents in long-term care facilities. The CDC states, “The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available. As vaccine supply increases but remains limited, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will expand the groups recommended for vaccination.”
The CDC had previously stated that additional groups that might be included in the expanded recommendations would be people age 65 and older and people with underlying health conditions. The CDC stresses that COVID-19 is a new disease, and that data is still being collected. Based on what they know at this time the CDC has broken down populations with underlying health conditions into two groups: Adults of any age who are at increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 and adults of any age who might be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.
The CDC provides a comprehensive list of these on its website, which you can review by going to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html.
People in the liver community may be particularly affected in each of the groups because they may be suffering from liver cancer; liver disease; overweight/obesity; Type 2 diabetes; high blood pressure; and/or heart disease. In addition, they may have compromised immune systems because they have had liver transplants or are on medications that have weakened their immune systems, thereby making their bodies less effective at fighting infection.
We would encourage you to speak with your health care provider for personalized advice and updates about COVID-19 vaccination for you and your loved ones, particularly if you are in a high-risk group listed here or on the CDC website.
If you want to read about the most current updates about the US COVID-19 Vaccine Program, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-things.html.
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