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Summit County

Wait 14 days after COVID exposure to get a vaccine, officials say

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KPCW
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Officials advise waiting 14 days to seek a vaccine for people who have been exposed to COVID-19.

COVID-19 exposures in elementary schools have become commonplace in recent weeks, just as vaccines have been made available to younger schoolchildren. Officials advise waiting 14 days to seek a vaccine for people who have been exposed to COVID-19.

Summit County health officials hoped they could offer vaccines to five- to 11-year-olds in time for the holidays — so kids could have one dose worth of protection in time for Thanksgiving and reach peak immunity in time for winter break.

About 1,400 Summit County children in that age group have already received a shot, roughly 1/3 of local kids that age. Some have to wait, though, as Summit County Nursing Director Derek Moss explained that if someone is exposed to COVID-19, official guidance is to wait 14 days before seeking a vaccine.

“We ask that they wait until after the quarantine period and then they're good getting (the vaccine),” Moss said. “And there’s a few reasons for that but the main reason is to make sure that they don’t develop this disease.”

He said the most common reason vaccine appointments have been canceled recently is because people have been exposed to COVID-19 or they’ve come down with another illness like a head cold.

Moss said the side effects of the vaccine — flu-like symptoms that can last for a day or so — could be especially impactful for people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus.

Getting vaccinated while battling another illness also might reduce the vaccine’s efficacy, as the patient’s immune system is already working hard.

It takes five weeks from receiving the first shot to reach peak immunity. Park City schools start winter break on December 20, five weeks from Monday.

Summit County is working with Park City Hospital to run vaccine clinics that offer after-school hours. Officials are planning a vaccine clinic at the hospital the Tuesday after Thanksgiving from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“We’re starting out with our big push up at the hospital, and that's a 12-hour day, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” Moss said. “And right after school, as I'm sure we would all expect, is by far the most popular time.”

There are other clinics scheduled that week at the county’s health department offices from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Appointments are required.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, visit summitcountyhealth.org/vaccine.