On the Horizon for Public Health: COVID-19 vaccine

3 things to know about the vaccine

Marcia Schroeder

Horizon Public Health is working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure our communities have the most up-to-date information on COVID-19.

Scientists and medical professionals are developing and preparing to distribute a safe and effective vaccine that will help us return to normal day-to-day activities. Here are three things you need to know about COVID-19 vaccine.

1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. A U.S. vaccine safety system ensures all vaccines (not just COVID vaccine) are as safe as possible. Safety is also a top priority for federal partners working to make COVID-19 vaccines available.

Clinical trials with many thousands of study participants generate scientific data so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can determine both safety and effectiveness. If the data show that the vaccine is safe and effective after an in-depth review, the FDA can license the vaccine for emergency use.

In conjunction, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also reviews all data. The committee then holds a public meeting to review all available data and will vote to recommend the vaccine or not. For all vaccines, the FDA and CDC pursue ongoing safety and efficacy surveillance.


2. There will be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, but supply will continually increase in the weeks and months that follow.

We do know that the COVID-19 vaccine, as authorized by FDA and recommended by the advisory committee, will first be offered to front-line healthcare personnel and residents of skilled nursing facilities. Each person needs two doses of vaccine.

CDC and the state health department have a plan for determining populations who will be eligible for the next rounds of vaccine.

3. Horizon Public Health is actively planning with our local partners and in conjunction with the state health department to assure that vaccine gets out to our communities and the identified populations in a safe and timely manner.

As more vaccine becomes available, more groups will have access to it. We anticipate this process will be ongoing for a number of months before the supply will be available so everyone has access to the vaccine.

Stay tuned for messages from us here at Horizon or other partners as vaccine availability increases.

New information about COVID-19 vaccine is available on a regular basis. For questions or the latest information, visit .

Marcia Schroeder is a registered nurse with Horizon Public Health, which serves five counties, including Douglas County. Contact her at

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