Q. Some people are skeptical about receiving the vaccine. What are some of the concerns, and what are the responses to these concerns? A. According to polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health information and journalism organization, the main reasons given by those who are hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine include possible side effects (59%); lack of trust in the government to ensure the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness (55%); vaccine is too new (53%); concerns over the role of politics in the development process (51%); the risks of getting COVID are exaggerated (43%); don’t trust vaccines in general (37%); don’t trust the health care system (35%); worried about getting COVID from the vaccine (27%); don’t think they’re at risk of getting sick from the virus (20%). Members of different racial groups have different reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated.
Q. The vaccine rollout is under way. Where are we in the process, who can get it, and where? A. The state is in Phase 1B of the vaccine process. In Phase 1A, healthcare personnel, long-term care facility residents and medical first responders were vaccinated.
Q. Since COVID-19, the hospital experience is different for patients and visitors. Patient and employee safety has changed many things, some that we see and some behind the scenes. This is what our hospitals are doing for safety reasons and why. A. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that hospitals give priority to urgent visits and delay elective care to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals.
Q. We have been hearing about different scams related to the COVID-19 virus. One such scam had to do with fake COVID-19 testing. What type of scams are out there and how can they be avoided? A. In November, Bridgeport officials warned residents about a fraudulent COVID test site near Gala Foods on East Main Street.
Q. People are worried about receiving surprise medical bills after having been treated for COVID-19. To what extent will the person be responsible for all the treatment received during their stay in the hospital? A. There is a federal law in place that covers the cost of COVID-19 testing, but there is no federal legislation regarding costs of the treatment of the virus, such as hospitalizations or extended care. Treatment costs depend on the type of health coverage the patient has.
Q. COVID-19 affects each person who gets it somewhat differently. What symptoms should cause me to seek care and how long should I wait to seek medical care. Does any of this change based on the number of cases that are reported in my community? A. So you’ve got the sniffles and a mild cough, but no fever.
Q. People are concerned about the isolation and negative psychological impact that the separation of family members is causing. Residents are seeing a higher number of family members suffering and a resulting high rate of suicide cases. What are the findings and what is being done about this in our communities? A. The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed from January through September 2020, according to Mental Health America.
Q. What regulations are expected to be in effect during the holidays as far as gathering sizes of personal family celebrations and religious services? Will community members be prohibited from celebrating as a large family or with their congregation of faith? What are suggestions for alternative gatherings outside of the traditional large multi-generational family gathering or house of worship services? A. As of Nov.
Q. Please provide an update on where in the process of creating a vaccine we are, and what are the plans for distribution when it becomes available? A. Vaccines normally require years of research and testing before entering clinical trials, but scientists are pushing to produce a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by early 2021. Researchers are currently testing 44 vaccines in human clinical trials, according to the New York Times’ vaccine tracker. Briefly, here are the stages of producing a vaccine: preclinical testing, where the vaccine is tested on cells and then animals; Phase 1 safety trials, where the vaccine is given to a small number of people; Phase 2 expanded trials, where the vaccine is given to hundreds of people split into groups; Phase 3 efficacy trials, where thousands of people receive the vaccine to see if they become infected, compared to volunteers who receive a placebo.
Q. We heard from a woman who had asymptomatic COVID-19, discovered through a test, who recovered and later tested negative. Then, after every other member of her family developed symptomatic COVID-19, she tested positive again. Had her virus gone dormant or was she reinfected? A. “There are no confirmed reports to date of a person being re-infected with COVID-19 within three months of initial infection,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.