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The COVID-19 Vaccine

hand holding needle, pulling up COVID vaccineRutland Regional Medical Center received the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on December 16, 2020, and immediately began vaccinating frontline staff.

With two vaccines now in the picture, the course of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed for the better. We have vaccination plans in place to provide efficient, equitable and safe distribution of the vaccine. Using guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state of Vermont Department of Health, we are focusing on frontline caregivers first, as they are the ones with the highest risk of exposure.

At this time, we don't know when the vaccine will become available for the general public, due in large part to availability of supply and the distribution process. As more doses are shipped to Vermont and both the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health issue updated guidance, Rutland Regional will work as quickly and safely as possible to get our community vaccinated. 

As the pandemic continues to surge with rising numbers of COVID-19 infections in Vermont and around the country, please stay vigilant and keep up the good work of helping to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask when you leave your house and when you are around others you don't live with.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others.
  • Clean your hands often by washing with soap or using hand sanitizer.
  • Observe local and state guidelines around travel and quarantine.

Please remember:

  • Vaccination is the best weapon we have to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Rutland Regional is not making appointments or creating waiting lists for vaccination of the general public.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are rigorously tested before they are released for public use. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are considered highly effective in reducing the rate of COVID-19 disease. While these vaccines are being developed at an accelerated pace, the fast-track process focuses on safety and effectiveness through vaccination trials involving thousands of participants.
  • We are vaccinating front-line caregivers first to keep them safe, healthy and available to provide care for those who need it.

Coronavirus and the Flu

Staying the course during the COVID-19 pandemic, and especially during flu season, is critically important. As Vermonters we have done a good job so far in managing COVID-19 by wearing a face mask, hand-washing often, maintaining a 6-foot social distance, avoiding large gatherings and staying home if you're feeling sick.

We must continue to be vigilant. The combination of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza (flu) is dangerous. The only thing we can do to protect ourselves is to get the flu shot. This year, more than ever, it's vitally important to get the flu shot and to get it as early as possible.

The good news is it's easy! Here are ways to get your shot:

  1. Call your primary care provider and schedule an appointment today
  2. Visit to find a vaccine location near you
  3. Community partners such as VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region run regular flu clinics
  4. Look for “Get Your Flu Shot Here” signs at local pharmacies and large retail establishments

What are the Symptoms of Flu versus COVID-19?

Many respiratory viruses, including the flu and COVID-19, have similar symptoms. Because the spread of COVID-19 is so dangerous, this year, people with cold-like symptoms will set in motion the same enhanced protective protocol we use with COVID-19 until we have proven that it is not COVID-19.

Chart showing flu and COVID-19 symptoms

Take Control This Flu Season

Certainly getting COVID-19 and the flu at the same time is dangerous. But you can take control by getting your flu shot as early as you can to protect yourself throughout the flu season. It's important to remember that you can not get the flu from the flu shot, and that it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to build up the antibodies to protect you. While the flu shot is not designed to prevent 100% of flu cases, it does dramatically decrease the likelihood of getting the flu and makes the symptoms far less severe.

An increase in flu cases during the COVID-19 pandemic could quickly overwhelm our healthcare system, so please do your part this flu season and get your flu shot!

To learn more, please read this article on the 2020 flu season written by Rick Hildebrant, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Information Officer and Medical Director Hospital Medicine at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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