Mutual Member Help: COVID VACC ASAP!

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SKY

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I posted this on the 2nd vaccine thread but I think people need to hear this here. I went this AM for my 2nd dose in Punta Cana today. Just presented the card and was out in 20 minutes. Everyone had a card for the 2nd shot here. I asked about whether they were vaccinating 1st and 2nd shots and was told ONLY 2nd shots.
I asked if this was for the whole country and the answer I got was that it was.

Now I have been here a long time so I don't put this as gospel. As one place can say one thing and another something different. So it would be good for people in other parts of the DR to chime in on this.

And I had the same side effects on the 2nd shot as the first. None........................
 
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TravelHippo

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In Cabrera you could definitely get the vaccine with passport only when I went to get mine last week (or two weeks ago? Whenever that was). I have a cedula, but some of my teaching staff do not.

Also, I went at first early in the morning and it was jam packed so I left. Returned at 3:30pm on the first day (they were ending at 4pm), only 8 people in front of me and 2 behind me, didn't take long at all with two ladies administering the vaccines. Next day I took another staff member closer to 3:45pm.. we were the only ones there. No wait at all.

My card has me scheduled to get 2nd dose on April 18th. We'll see if that happens, but they have impressed me so far so I'm not doubting it.
 

Lucas61

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OP Sum-up: I would like to correct an error. The pin prick for blood draw does not test for antigen (the virus); it tests for antibody to the antigen. This test is not acceptable for international travel. Speaking for the United States, i.e. flying from the D.R. to the U.S., two tests are accepted. They both test for antigen. The first is the antigen test and the second is the PCR. They both test for the antigen (SARS-CoV-2) but the latter is more accurate than the former. Further, the latter is more invasive than the former. The antigen test requires a swab stick inserted into each nostril into the upper nasal passage where it is rotated to capture a sample. I found it very uncomfortable. The PCR requires > invasiveness, i.e. nasopharyngeal, the upper back of the throat through the nose.

Meanwhile, I flew to CA for one month and obtained both injections, 28 days apart, of the Moderna mRNA vaccine, at my HMO, Kaiser Permanente. Vaccine completion occurred 15 days after my second injection, i.e. 1.5 months after my first injection.

Ditto for SinoVac in the D.R. If you're going to get the SinoVac here (inactivated virus), you'll need 1.5 months.

Update on recent flights to and from the U.S. (1) I have a strong preference for Amadita Labs over BioReference (pardon if my naming is not exact). The Amadita lab in Gazcue (NOT the one near Clinica Abreu) is open 24/7 and very efficient. I believe I paid RD$2000 for the prueba antigenico (accent over the "e"), (2) You must fill out the form at eticket.migracion.gob.do You get an automatically regenerated login code. You cannot fill out this form and complete it until you have your flight information. When complete, you end up with a QR code that you can transfer to your smartphone and use that at the airport. N.B. When I D.R. < U.S. no one asked for the form!! But when I U.S. < D.R. at an international airport I was not permitted to board the plane without this QR code. When you are en route to the D.R. you don't have to fill out any forms on the plane or when you land. When you pass through immigration and show your passport, they just scan your code.
 

Lucas61

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OP: This is a translated DR1 news item as of today, June 4: "The country is vaccinating those who can show a Dominican ID or at least a legal passport. [My bold].

This tells me that you can wait in any line where vaccines are offered and present your passport. If doing so, it might help to find the original newspaper source (in Spanish), and write it out so that you can quote it if necessary. With a little fuss, if necessary, it's hard to believe that you will be refused.

And the following, rather long quote, is from the who.int website:

WHO today validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities the assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing. The vaccine is produced by the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac.

“The world desperately needs multiple COVID-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe,” said Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Health Products. “We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX Facility, share their knowhow and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control.”

WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is a prerequisite for COVAX Facility vaccine supply and international procurement. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

The EUL assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as risk management plans and programmatic suitability, such as cold chain requirements. The assessment is performed by the product evaluation group, composed by regulatory experts from around the world and a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), in charge of performing the risk-benefit assessment for an independent recommendation on whether a vaccine can be listed for emergency use and, if so, under which conditions.

In the case of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine, the WHO assessment included on-site inspections of the production facility.

The Sinovac-CoronaVac product is an inactivated vaccine. Its easy storage requirements make it very manageable and particularly suitable for low-resource settings.

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has also completed its review of the vaccine. On the basis of available evidence, WHO recommends the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks. Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100% of the studied population.

Few older adults (over 60 years) were enrolled in clinical trials, so efficacy could not be estimated in this age group. Nevertheless, WHO is not recommending an upper age limit for the vaccine because data collected during subsequent use in multiple countries and supportive immunogenicity data suggest the vaccine is likely to have a protective effect in older persons. There is no reason to believe that the vaccine has a different safety profile in older and younger populations. WHO recommends that countries using the vaccine in older age groups conduct safety and effectiveness monitoring to verify the expected impact and contribute to making the recommendation more robust for all countries.

WHO emergency use listing
The emergency use listing (EUL) procedure assesses the suitability of novel health products during public health emergencies. The objective is to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency, while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy and quality. The assessment weighs the threat posed by the emergency as well as the benefit that would accrue from the use of the product against any potential risks.

The EUL pathway involves a rigorous assessment of late phase II and phase III clinical trial data as well as substantial additional data on safety, efficacy, quality and a risk management plan with a focus on low- and middle-income country needs. These data are reviewed by independent experts and WHO teams who consider the current body of evidence on the vaccine under consideration, the plans for monitoring its use, and plans for further studies.

As part of the EUL process, the company producing the vaccine must commit to continue to generate data to enable full licensure and WHO prequalification of the vaccine. The WHO prequalification process will assess additional clinical data generated from vaccine trials and deployment on a rolling basis to ensure the vaccine meets the necessary standards of quality, safety and efficacy for broader availability.

OP: This EUL and the independent vetting behind it, should give reassurance to those who are hesitant.
 

JD Jones

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With the push that's going on now all over the island one would think you could get a 1st or 2nd shot anywhere it's being offered.
 

Lucas61

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Hello All:

I know there are a lot of posts re: the COVID vaccine in this sub-forum. The audience for my post is other DR1 members who seek a vaccine ASAP and are running into problems.

If we can advise each other by way of leads, maybe that will be a help.

So this post is not for the vaccine hesitant but for those who have made up their mind and want to be vaccinated.

There are three options: the Dominican Republic, one’s home country (for me that’s the U.S.), and a third country.

The latest information I gather on the D.R. is that only citizens with a CEDULA are eligible for vaccination. At least that’s the case indicated by the national website, vacunate.gob.do Some weeks back the same site offered passports as an option but that choice has since been deleted. It’s possible that in late Q2 or Q3, when most of the population has been vaccinated, that the national policy on foreigners will change.

And then there is the possibility of jumping the line. My wife’s sister knows a physician who says that she will offer me the SinoPharm vaccination. Maybe you too have someone you know. My view on that is that it cannot be counted on and it’s better to start making serious plans that have a good chance of success.

So, for the time being, I am ruling out the D.R. as being viable except for the slim chance offered by luck and speculation.

Another option is a third country. A few days ago the NYT had an article about “vaccine tourism” in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Vaccine hesitancy in the general population is high and the writer interviewed medical personnel who are eagerly providing tourists with vaccinations. I explored airfares and COVID testing requirements (American Airlines via MIA) but when I explored hotels, I found that the cheapest was a whopping RD$10,000 per night multiplied by about three weeks for the second injection, which would come to about $3,500 USD, so I ruled out that option.

I hear that China is waving some visa requirements for travel to China if you agree to a vaccination, part of their “vaccine diplomacy” strategy. Their embassy is in Sto. Dom., so this should be easy to investigate. I stayed in Shanghai for several months in hostels at about $8.00 per night and the airfare is cheap, so I’d have no problem doing this. This is still on my list to investigate.

As regards the United States, if that is your home country, I had the idea of waiting for the one jab Johnson and Johnson vacc. and doing a quick turn around via CVS pharmacy in Miami. I began to explore this via the CVS website. That website is blocked in the D.R. To unblock it, use the cross-platform browser, Opera. Go to the Advanced section of settings and turn on the VPN (free), and you will get through.

Bad news! Only FL residents are eligible. When I go to my home state’s site, CA, more bad news. I tried making an appointment at myturn.ca.gov and the only appointments I could find in the state were in the rural area 30 miles from Fresno, an out-of-the-way city. Your home state may have its dedicated website. Additionally, a U.S. mobile phone number was required for identification for CA residents and, obviously, I don’t have that as I live in the D.R. There is a number to call if you don’t have a mobile phone, and I’ll follow up on that. (I can get one when I’m in the U.S.).

I’m fearful that in spite of being a U.S. citizen, the fact that I’m a resident of no state, could be an obstacle. Last year I sold my property in CA and discovered via my C.P.A. that for 12 years that I have been living in the D.R., that I was never a CA resident (per terms of FTB), and that I needlessly paid taxes. I did receive refunds for three years, the maximum, and I no longer pay state taxes. You might want to investigate that angle for your home state if you are paying state taxes . . .

Don’t know yet if I’m between a rock and a hard place: can’t get vaccinated in the D.R. because I’m not a citizen and can’t get vaccinated in my home country because I’m not a state resident.

Then there is the possibility of being vaccinated by your home country’s insurance/Medicare, etc. For me, I have Kaiser Senior Advantage and, thus far, there are no appointments available at Kaiser. I have written membership services. In this case, too, I would spend several thousand dollars for RT airfare as well as a hotel room for a month. I want to be rock solid on an actual vaccination if I’m going to make this sacrifice.

I have also found detailed information about testing requirements to enter the U.S. I did this via documentation at American Airlines. There are about seven tests that have eligibility. I would opt for the rapid antigen rather than PCR, as it’s simply a blood draw and is cheap and has a turn around time of hours. I have had bad experiences with Reference Labs in this country. If I need testing I will try Amadita and compare.

As I’ve enumerated my various attempts, of course, I am speaking for myself. YMMV.

If we can advise each other in a helpful way, I’ll be happy, and I hope you will too.
OP: "Bizarre" is the word. I am leaving from SDQ to Philadelphia, PA for a wedding in August. I confirmed with American Airlines that a COVID test, either an antigen or PCR test, is mandatory EVEN if I am vaccinated. Whether one is vaccinated or not is irrelevant. But you do not have to test if you have a positive COVID test within 90 days with additional documentation from your healthcare provider. BIZARRE! And my vaccination, Moderna, is FDA approved under EUAA which the SinoVac is not. Makes no difference.
 

JD Jones

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I'm not sure why you told us all of that.

They have said anyone can get a vaccine. Why do you think they're vaccinating everyone except you?
 
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Lucas61

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I'm not sure why you told us all of that.

They have said anyone can get a vaccine. Why do you think they're vaccinating everyone except you?
You missed my point. I wrote an OP sum-up in which I explained that BEFORE SinoVac became available to all, I flew to CA for one month and received both doses of Moderna's mRNA vaccine plus waited the obligatory 15 days for full protection.

My point now is that EVEN BEING FULLY VACCINATED I must still present a negative antigen test before being allowed to board a plane from the D.R. to the U.S. One would think that the U.S. FDA would accept full vaccination for boarding and not require a negative test but it does not. I must still go to Amadita and test for COVID in spite of being vaccinated with a vaccine that is 95% effective.
 

windeguy

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You missed my point. I wrote an OP sum-up in which I explained that BEFORE SinoVac became available to all, I flew to CA for one month and received both doses of Moderna's mRNA vaccine plus waited the obligatory 15 days for full protection.

My point now is that EVEN BEING FULLY VACCINATED I must still present a negative antigen test before being allowed to board a plane from the D.R. to the U.S. One would think that the U.S. FDA would accept full vaccination for boarding and not require a negative test but it does not. I must still go to Amadita and test for COVID in spite of being vaccinated with a vaccine that is 95% effective.
That is because there is no US Covid Passport. The US went the route of requiring testing for everyone. Hope that answers your question.
 

Lucas61

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Update on Pfizer "booster" at La Sirena Multicentro on Churchill, Sto. Dom. (Some of this information was presented by Dolores)

My wife and I went there early this morning for her inoculation. Unfortunately, after waiting two hours, it was a "no go." There is a "Gotcha!" The gotcha is that they are not accepting obesity (BMI of 32.8) as a co-morbidity (comorbilidad). The physician we spoke to gave as examples of accepted co-morbilities: hypertension, diabetes, asthma. Perhaps there are more but I didn't ask her to enumerate.

I took my two Moderna mRNA vaccines at Kaiser Permanente, Southern California. The process was extremely well-planned and efficient. I'm happy to say that the process here was equally precisely executed. The security at the entrance vetted clients, asking for proof of 2x vaccinations Sinovac, and the passing of one month or 2x vaccinations AstraZeneca and the passing of x time (I do not remember the time interval but it may be two months). However, co-morbidities were beyond his scope. Unsurprisingly, he didn't even know the meaning of the word in Spanish. Probably they should have used one physican to vet at the entrance.
 
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