Nurses are the most trusted profession in the United States for the past 18 years, according to Gallup reports – so what we say matters. Patients, colleagues and the general public will want to know our opinion on this and other vaccines. A nurse’s recommendation will be one of the strongest predictors of whether an individual will be vaccinated or not. Let us make sure that what we say is rooted in science and facts, that it is compassionate and culturally competent and with integrity.
With so much progress, updates and changes around COVID-19 and vaccines, we have decided to create a weekly forum to inform nurses about the latest changes so that you as the first healthcare professional can be informed, feel more comfortable and confident when talking about COVID – 19, vaccines and other related items for your patients.
This week News about nurses we discuss the following COVID-19 and related issues on Facebook:
Every Tuesday, I will lead a live discussion about Nurse News Now on the Nurse.org Facebook page and will do my best to discuss, explain and clarify all the stories about COVID-19 and vaccines as soon as they appear. Join us!
Here are some of the most urgent questions we received from the nurses this week.
1. Why did the nurse faint shortly after receiving the COVID vaccine?
A Tennessee nurse fainted after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, but officials say it was not unexpected with the vaccination. In a video released by WTVC, CHI Memorial nurse manager Tiffany Dover was interviewed by media members after she was shot when she looked stunned. When she recovered, Dover said that her reaction was not unusual. “I’ve had an overly active vagal response in the past, so even if anything hurts me – a fingernail or if I hit my big toe – I can just pass out.”
Vasovagal syncope occurs when you faint because your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as blood type or extreme emotional distress. It may also be called neurocardiogenic syncope. The trigger of vasovagal syncope causes a sudden pulse and blood pressure. This is believed to be the reason Dover fainted and is not associated with any of the vaccine components.
2. Did the nurse try to administer the COVID vaccine with an empty syringe?
On December 14, 2020, five nurses at El Paso University Medical Center were the first people in their county to receive the COVID vaccine, but after watching the event live on television, journalists and viewers speculated whether any of the staff received only part of the vaccine or any other. The nurse giving the vaccine appears to have inoculated the vaccine recipient with an empty vaccine. This leaves one wondering whether the 10 drug rights have been respected or whether any vaccine protocol has been used.
According to the Medical Institute, near-failure is “an act of commission or omission that may have harmed the patient but did not harm as a result of chance, prevention, or mitigation. Recent medical error research has estimated that there could be 251,000 deaths a year in the U.S., making medical errors the third leading cause of death.
El Paso University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, distributed this press release two days after the incident. I asked them for further tests on December 22, 2020, but to date I have not received an answer.
3. What is the difference between Pfizer and Modern?
See our full article which lists all the similarities and differences.
Although vaccines from both manufacturers used mRNA technology and have similar reported efficacy rates, there are two differences between the two that nurses should know.
Pfizer vaccines require storage with special ultra-cold freezers (-94F degrees) that must be topped up with dry ice every five days and must have at least 975 vaccines. This large order quantity and storage requirement limits the number of places where this particular vaccine can be stored and used. After thawing, the vial of Pfizer vaccine must be used within five days. Unfortunately, doctor’s offices, small clinics, and neighboring pharmacies don’t have ultra-cold freezers and may not need as many vaccines at the same time.
Modern vaccine is more convenient to store and use. It can be stored at normal freezer temperatures of -4F, and is stable at refrigerator temperature for 30 days and at room temperature for 12 hours. The minimum order for the vaccine is 100 doses, which is a much easier number. This allows smaller quantities of vaccine to be stored and used in more remote locations and without extensive storage requirements.
Both vaccines require two doses, however Pfizer recipients return for a dose of two after 21 days; and for Modern, recipients return for a dose of two after 28 days. Vaccines are not replaceable. Pfizer vaccines are approved for ages 16 and up. Modern vaccines are approved for ages 18 and up.
4. What you need to know about anaphylactic reactions and the COVID vaccine
To date, six people in the United States have experienced severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, officials at the National Institutes of Health are rushing to design a study to find out why.
As a nurse, it is important not only to recognize the signs of serious reactions, but also to know that the most severe reactions occur in just a few minutes. Some mild reactions may be delayed and occur within a few hours or days after exposure, although symptoms may be delayed for up to 2 to 3 weeks. They differ from the expected side effects.
- Experts say anaphylaxis is rare, but those who have had serious reactions to vaccines or injectable drugs in the past should talk to their doctor before opting for the vaccine. And if they do, they should be monitored for at least 30 minutes after the shooting. The others are monitored for 15 minutes.
- For those who give vaccines, they must have certain medications and equipment available to initially respond to reactions and then call 911 to take people to the hospital for continuous monitoring and treatment.
- Those who are seriously allergic to any of the ingredients included in the injections should skip the vaccine, the CDC recommends.
- All vaccine administrators must report adverse or suspected adverse reactions using the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national vaccine monitoring system maintained by the CDC and the FDA that collects reports from healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the public of adverse events following vaccinations.
- The general public is also encouraged to use V-safe, a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health checkups after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. You can quickly tell the CDC via v-safe if you have any side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from the CDC may contact you.
5. Who should not currently take the COVID vaccine?
- People with a serious allergy to any component of the vaccine
- Children under 16 years
- People with active COVID-19 infections
6. Who should talk to their healthcare provider and consider stopping receiving the COVID vaccine for now?
- People with severe allergies to any food or medication
- Pregnant women
- People who are severely debilitated
- People who have recently recovered from COVID-19
- People 16-18
Watch news about nurses every Tuesday – LIVE
Convert to watch Nurse News NOW with nurse Alice every Tuesday at 18:00 PST / 21:00 EST on @nurse_org Instagram and Facebook to learn more about COVID-19 and vaccine-related stories and developments, and for live questions with Alice Benjamin, APRN, MSN, ACNS-BC, FNP -B.