Last Updated January 8, 2021
We know Texans with ALS and their caregivers may have questions about the new COVID-19 vaccines. Our team at the ALS Association of Texas is closely monitoring the development of these vaccines and how they are being distributed across the country. Our highest priority remains the safety and well-being of people with ALS, their families and caregivers. Keep reading to see the latest updates on the two new COVID-19 vaccines.
The FDA Has Approved Two New Vaccines
The FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine on December 11, 2020, issuing it for emergency use authorization. The Moderna vaccine was approved for emergency use on December 18, 2020. Each state is responsible for their distribution plans, but due to limited supplies, both vaccines are being distributed first to front-line health care workers, and residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The CDC suggested that the initial wave of vaccines be administered in the following order of priority:
- Frontline health care workers and adults in long term facilities
- Essential workers
- Adults with high-risk medical conditions and adults older than 65
According to the Texas Department of State Human Services, “Texas continues to receive doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and is distributing statewide to hospitals, pharmacies, local health departments, freestanding ERs and other clinics.” Read more about the vaccine distribution plan for Texas here.
Do These New Guidelines Include People with ALS?
Specific diseases like ALS are not listed as a high-risk medical condition in the CDC’s guidelines regarding the first three-part phase distribution of the vaccine. The ALS Association is contacting U.S. governors to ensure that people with ALS are included in the third category based on the respiratory complications from the progression of the disease and the risk it carries.
Is the Vaccine Safe for People Living with ALS?
The ALS Association continues to consult with doctors specialized in ALS treatment and are encouraged by the safety and efficacy data. However, we still strongly advise that Texans with ALS consult with their physicians to discuss taking the vaccine as soon as supplies in Texas allow.
How Do I Prevent Exposure to COVID-19?
Despite the release of the new vaccine, cases are still growing in Texas. Keep yourself and your families safe by following the protocols recommended by the CDC. This includes, social distancing and wearing masks when you’re near people outside of your household, frequent handwashing, and avoiding crowds.
For the most recent information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), The ALS Association recommends that you reference the websites for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health authorities.
For specific information about symptoms you may be experiencing or questions about personal exposure as someone living with ALS or as a caregiver, please contact your physician directly.
If you have more questions about the vaccine and it’s distribution, reach out to our team using the Contact Us page!