IMPORTANT COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION
For Immediate Release: 4/13/2021
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO
STATEMENT FROM NEW YORK STATE HEALTH COMMISSIONER DR. HOWARD UCKER REGARDING JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE
"Today the CDC and FDA issued a statement recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution. New York State will follow the CDC and FDA recommendation and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine statewide immediately today while these health and safety agencies evaluate next steps. All appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines today at New York State mass vaccination sites will be honored with the Pfizer vaccine.
"As the CDC and FDA have said, any adverse events related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine 'appear to be extremely rare' and, 'People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.'
"I am in constant contact with the federal government and we will update New Yorkers as more information becomes available."
FROM GENERAL PHYSICIAN, PC
General Physician, PC will continue to host centralized vaccination clinics as the vaccine becomes available to our organization. When these opportunities arise, we will communicate this information to our patients with information on how you can schedule an appointment. We will communicate via email, text, portal, and phone.
Please note the following information relating to the new criteria for eligibility as well as how you can find other opportunities in the community to become vaccinated.
ELIGIBILITY: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning Tuesday, March 30 at 8 a.m., all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Beginning April 6, universal eligibility goes into effect and all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.
The "Am I Eligible" screening tool has been updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks.
The Vaccine Finder https://vaccinefinder.org/search/ helps you find clinics, pharmacies and other locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to work with the NYS Department of Health. Please stay healthy and be safe!
Isolate if You are Sick
Isolation is used to separate people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available). For more information click here.
When to Quarantine
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department. For more information click here.
Below is a link giving the most up-to-date information on the vaccine which includes information on the vaccine that has received Emergency Use Approval, FAQ’s about the COVID-19 Vaccination along with information on how to handle Holiday Stress and the Winter Holidays.
COVID-19 Vaccine Questions & Answers
Dr. Paul Shields Answers COVID Vaccine Questions on WNY Living
Dr. Paul Shield’s on What the COVID Vaccine Means to the Community.
Don't Let Fear Keep You From Taking Care of Your Health
A message from Dr. Paul Paterson, Orthopedic Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon
Taking care of your heart during the COVID-19 crisis
Dr. Vijay Iyer, MD, Director of Cardiology, discusses the importance of taking care of your heart during this pandemic, and why it’s important not to ignore signs and symptoms.
Proudly honoring our Elderwood Partner
When the community needed us most, we were there to answer the call with the region’s first post-acute COVID-19 Unit at Elderwood at Amherst. With the support of our medical staff, our colleagues at Kaleida Health, and our entire organization, the team at Elderwood at Amherst responded with skill, compassion, and bravery. We thank those who are there in the trenches, providing care and compassion to these patients each day.
Video Visits Now Available
If you are practicing social distancing, have a chronic condition that puts you at a higher risk or can’t make it to the office for your next appointment, we offer Video Visits. If you are a current General Physician, PC patient, you can remain in the comfort of your home and still receive an appointment. To participate, you will need to have a valid email address and a computer or device with a camera. Call your doctor’s office for more information.
To learn more about video visits, please CLICK HERE and watch our informational video.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Our patients and the community have questions about COVID-19, commonly known as the Coronavirus. Though information about this pandemic virus is rapidly changing, we want to offer some resources, as well as answers to the most common questions.
What Constitutes Close Contact?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19. This is considered exposure regardless if one or both parties were wearing masks.
What is Direct Exposure?
Direct exposure occurs when an individual has close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with another person who tests positive for COVID-19 whether or not they display symptoms. The exposure risk for contact with symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals begins the 2 days prior to their symptoms or diagnosis and until criteria have been met to discontinue home isolation.
Note: Direct exposure exists whether or not one or both parties were wearing masks or other personal protective equipment.
What is Coronavirus?
From the Mayo Clinic: Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak in China. The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Fever (100.4 or higher) and/or chills
- New loss of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Cough or sore throat
The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of serious illness. This is similar to what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.
Doesn’t it only affect older people?
While it is true that the majority of deaths have occurred in people over the age of 70, the danger with this novel virus is any age group is susceptible and can pass it on to others, sometimes asymptomatically. The best protection is to use good hygiene and social distance where possible to prevent the continued spread especially to those most vulnerable - either due to advanced age or underlying health conditions.
As of September 30, 458,649 have tested positive for COVID-19 in New York State. In Erie County, 35% of all recent cases have been among those ages 20-29.
How will I know if I have contracted it?
COVID-19 can only be confirmed through testing. If you are concerned you may have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, CALL your doctor for medical assistance. DO NOT go to your doctor's office or hospital. The risk of spreading the infection is too great. Your doctor can discuss your symptoms over the phone and offer you the best way to proceed.
It is safe to be in crowds?
At this time, crowds with 50 people or more is not advised. Because of the possibility for rapid spread of COVID-19 in crowded environments, people should practice social distancing and where face coverings when in public..
Does washing your hands really matter?
From Sanford Health: “Coronavirus is spread by droplets. So anytime we talk or sneeze or cough, there’s droplets that come from our mouth,” Dr. Allison Suttle said. “The virus is on those and it can land on surfaces. I touch the surface and then I touch my face — my eyes, my nose, my mouth — and that’s how I get infected with the coronavirus. That’s where hand-washing becomes so important. Alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, just soap and water will get rid of the virus. That is all it takes.”
What if I can't come to the office for my appointment?
If you are practicing social distancing, or for any other reason can't make it to the office for your next appointment, we now offer Video Visits.
Rather than coming to your primary care doctor’s office, if you are a current General Physician, PC patient, you can remain in the comfort of your home and still receive a consultation/appointment with your provider.
To participate, you will need to have a valid email address and a computer or device with a camera (mobile phone, iPad,
Should I get the Flu Vaccine this year during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Yes, the flu vaccine is an important step in protecting your health. The vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19 but it will reduce your risk of getting the flu and lower the severity if impacted by the flu. The vaccine will help those at highest risk by decreasing their risk of severe illness and hospitalization conserving health care resources.
When do I have to Quarantine?
From the CDC People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 need to stay home and away from people for 14 days and watch for symptoms. Close contact means being within 6 feet for 15+ minutes, providing care for someone with COVID-19, direct physical contact, sharing utensils or drinks, or having been sneezed or coughed on by someone with COVID-19.
Why do I have to Quarantine? It is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
Visiting Our Offices:
If you believe you may have any of the symptoms consistent with COVID-19, including fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches or headaches, new loss of taste or smell, please DO NOT come to your doctor's office, hospital, or Emergency Room. Instead, please call your primary care doctor, and they will discuss your symptoms over the phone and advise you on how to proceed. Thank you for your cooperation.
When you do visit our offices, we have enhanced safey measure in place to keep both our patients and staff safe.
- You will be required to have your temperature taken and answer a few basic questions before you enter. This ensures that no one with a fever is allowed inside.
- We screen every person to make sure you are safe; including our staff and providers.
- Everyone entering our office is required to wear a mask – if you don’t have one we will provide one.
- Only patients with an appointment are allowed to enter the office. No family or friends will be allowed in unless the person is assisting a patient as their caregiver.
- No unauthorized personnel are allowed in our offices. (This means vendors, sales personnel or delivery people).
- Our patient rooms are cleaned before and after each patient.
- Our offices are deep cleaned daily.
- Our staff are equipped with all the proper personal protective equipment.
- Our offices have been re-arranged to ensure social distancing.
A Touching Testimonial
Angela, a patient at our Lancaster Medical Primary Care office, shared this wonderful testimonial to the care she has received as she battles COVID-19.
I just wanted to reach out to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to your GPPC nurses who have contacted me daily, along with my primary care physicians, as I deal with COVID-19.
As my sickness evolved, I was never sure from one day (or hour) to the next how I was going to feel. Nurses Lisa, Judy and Katie talked me through and answered so many of my questions. Not only the way I was feeling physically, but mentally!
I think the mental component is so important right now … fear of the unknown! Was I really getting better? All the nurses truly seemed to care, and I seemed to bond with them rather than bother them.
So many of my friends who are dealing with the same issues are amazed that I am getting a daily call. Some don’t even have primary physicians.
Again, thank you for sending out that lifeline, making my recuperation much easier and knowing that I am not alone in this crazy time.