Local front line health providers got their first vaccination shots this week.
Dr. Matthew Hahn, three nurses and a nurse practitioner from River Bend Family Medicine in Hancock, Maryland were vaccinated Wednesday evening at Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, Maryland.
“The only adverse effect was mild soreness,” Dr. Hahn said. “We were all at work the next day and everyone was well. I worked out after the shot and went running the next morning and felt fine – except for being smarter and better looking which happens to me anytime I get a vaccine or get a medicine. I get smarter and better looking.”
“We are now seeing people in the office on a limited basis. For the most part we are doing telehealth visits. We are seeing a typical number of patients for this time of year every day, but ninety percent are telehealth. The people who come into the office come in because of some acute need. Yesterday, for example, I saw patients in the office with a rash and a skin wound that needed treatment. We bring them in as long as we think they are not infectious. We take their temperatures outside the office first.”
Dr. Hahn said that two months ago they were seeing more patients in the office.
“But people were telling us on the phone that they were well. When we spoke to them in the car in the parking lot they would tell us again that they were well. But when they got into the office, they would tell us about symptoms. And they would later test later positive for Covid. We just couldn’t be confident that we were seeing people who were not contagious with Covid, so we moved to 90 percent telehealth.”
As to when things will change, Dr. Hahn said he anticipated in about a month.
“We get our second vaccine shots three weeks after we got the first one. Immunity develops a few weeks after vaccination. Probably a month from today we will loosen up a bit. At that time we will probably shift toward 90 percent patients in the office and ten percent telehealth. But we will continue to wear our masks in the office.”
Dr. Hahn was asked about the doctor in Florida who died two weeks after getting the vaccine.
“Even if it was the vaccine, at this point millions of people have been vaccinated,” Dr. Hahn said. “That’s one case. Right now, there is such high risk related to that virus, including 367,000 dead Americans, that I will take that risk any day.”
“There are very few people getting the vaccine who are having any serious adverse side effects from it,” Dr. Hahn said. “Once you are vaccinated, we will start seeing some daylight. Once vaccinated, I will go into public places more readily, but still wear a mask. Until a significant percentage of people are vaccinated, there are still going to be significant risks.”