March 4, 2021: Total positive cases in Indiana are 664,446 and 12,490 at Beacon Health System 

At Beacon Health System, we are committed to exceptional, safe care for patients and support of our frontline healthcare heroes who work to meet our community’s critical medical needs. Our key experts continuously review new care guidelines and regional case status while ensuring our staff has the necessary equipment to provide the safest care possible. Cases 

Last updated: March 3, 2021

Beacon is experiencing a high call volume as we help answer our community’s questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Thank you for your patience – we look forward to serving you as quickly as possible.

We are committed to ensuring our community has access to this lifesaving vaccine and are working with the Indiana Department of Health for its distribution. While we don’t know when a vaccine will be available for broad distribution to the community, we are thoughtfully planning and working closely with federal and state health authorities to ensure our readiness.

While this is a promising step toward curbing the COVID-19 pandemic, we must stay vigilant in observing safety protocols such as continuing to wear a mask, washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing.

Please visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s vaccine information and planning webpage for the latest vaccine information. The CDC continues to add and update its vaccine information as well.

Your state’s health department offers a COVID-19 website and hotline for the latest information:

Frequently Asked Questions

The resources shared here are for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. As with all pharmaceuticals, a patient’s response to a vaccine is unique to their own body and medical history. We encourage all patients to discuss the vaccine with their physician before receiving it. Disclaimer: In our efforts to make sure you have the most up-to-date information as quickly as possible, please make sure your contact information is up to date and accurate. You can check and update your information through the MyBeacon patient portal.

Who

Who currently qualifies for the vaccine? (Updated: March 3, 2021)

If you are an Indiana resident who answers yes to any of these questions, you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

    • Are you age 50 or older?
    • Do you work or volunteer in healthcare and have (physical or close) contact or face to face interactions with patients? Examples include:
      • Inpatient, outpatient, provider office setting, nursing homes, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, in-home services
      • This includes all clinical and non-clinical positions: clinicians, dietary, environmental services, administrators who have direct contact with patients, clergy who see patients in the healthcare setting, non-clinicians who assist in procedures, transportation staff, etc.
      • This also includes local health department staff who interact with patients at test sites, health clinics or provide direct patient care
    • Do you have exposure to COVID-19 infectious material? (Examples include cleaning of rooms or material from COVID-19 patients, performing COVID-19 testing, other exposure to infected tissue, performing autopsies or other post-mortem examinations of COVID-19 patients)
    • Are you a first responder (firefighter, police officer and sheriff’s deputy, emergency medical services, reservist and correctional officer) who is regularly called to the scene of an emergency to give medical aid?

What

Is the vaccine safe?

Beacon takes the health and safety of our patients and associates seriously, and we are committed to ensuring the safe distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in a timely manner. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved by public health agencies and is safe for use in most adults and has been shown to be 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 when administered in two doses. For comparison, annual flu vaccination is between 40-60 percent effective in preventing influenza. As with all pharmaceuticals, a patient’s response to a vaccine is unique to their individual body and medical history. We encourage all patients to discuss the vaccine with their physician before administration.

Resources from CDC.gov

Articles from the Mayo Clinic Medical Library

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, it is a myth that you’ll get COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccine. You will not get COVID-19 from the vaccine because it does not use the live virus. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. It is possible to become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick—this is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

Once I get vaccinated, will I test positive on a COVID-19 viral test?

The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause you to test positive on viral tests. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests.

What is an Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA?

An EUA is granted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during a public health emergency to allow the use of a drug to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions for which there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. (Source: FDA)

What do I need to know about quarantining after I have received my second dose of vaccine?

You are no longer required to quarantine following an exposure to someone with COVID-19 if fully vaccinated (you’ve had both doses) and you meet specific criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (2 weeks after getting final dose)
  • Are within 3 months after getting the last dose
  • No COVID-19 symptoms

Anyone who doesn’t meet all three of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Read the new CDC guidelines (and scroll down to Public Heath Recommendations for Vaccinated Persons).

When

When can I get the vaccine and will there be enough vaccine for everyone?

At first, there will be a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine which means that not everyone will be able to be vaccinated right away. This supply will increase in 2021 and eventually, everyone will be able to receive the vaccine. That is why the federal government began investing in select vaccine manufacturers to help increase their ability to quickly make and distribute a large amount of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

When is the next phase of public vaccines?

The State provides regular updates to hospitals on the status of vaccine allocation plans. As soon as we have more information from the State we will pass that along. You may also visit the State’s website at: ourshot.in.gov.

Where

Are there any Beacon locations where I can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine clinic site at Beacon’s Elkhart General Hospital is one of our community’s vaccination sites. If this site is a convenient option for you, and you are in a qualifying group, you may choose this site when you register for your appointment.

Are walk-ins accepted?

No. At this time, vaccines are available by appointment only to those specific groups who qualify.

I have a vaccine appointment. Where is the Elkhart General Hospital vaccine clinic located and where should I park?

The Elkhart General Vaccine Clinic is located on the first floor in the Patel Auditorium (Auditorium B) across from Martin’s Deli and the Gift Shop. People should park in the RiverPoint Office lot off of Lawn Avenue. The address is 1215 Lawn Avenue, Elkhart, IN 46514. View clinic location.

Why

Why should I receive a vaccine?

The vaccine is the most effective tool for ending this global pandemic. We encourage all our associates, as well as all members of our community, to consider a vaccine. Since the start of the pandemic, caregivers have been at risk for contracting the coronavirus in their work caring for patients and the communities they serve. Numerous nurses, physicians and other clinicians around the country have contracted the virus, and some have died. The Pfizer vaccine has been shown to be 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 when administered in two doses.

Do I have to receive the vaccine?

We believe that the decision to receive a vaccine is a personal one that should be made in consultation with a physician. However, the vaccine is the most effective tool for ending this global pandemic. While not mandatory, we encourage our associates, as well as all members of our community, to consider a vaccine.

Why do I still need to get the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered?

People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated. However, there is not enough information about this at this time to determine if or for how long after infection that someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again.

Why do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received the COVID-19 vaccine?

Even after getting the vaccine, it is still important to continue using all the tools available to help stop the spread of the virus, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and cleaning your hands. While we are confident that the vaccine does help prevent infection, there will still be a small percentage of people who, despite having the vaccine, may go on to get the infection. It’s also possible that vaccinated individuals can carry the virus and shed it to other people even though they themselves do not become infected.

We have a long way to go before we reach the herd immunity we’re all looking for. We need a large majority of the population to either have some sort of immunity through infection or immunization. And we don’t yet know how long immunity lasts from either natural infection or a vaccine. So, it’s going to require all of the tools in our toolbox to beat this pandemic — immunization, masking, and social distancing, and hygiene, limited gatherings — all of those things are going to continue to be important through much of 2021.

Why would a vaccine be needed if we can do other things, like social distance and wear masks, to prevent the virus from spreading?

Vaccines work with an individual’s immune system to prepare your body to fight the virus if exposed. Social distancing and wearing a mask will help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus and spreading it to others.

Why do I need to stick to the schedule for my second vaccine dose?

While getting one vaccine will provide you with some immunity, you really do get a significant boost from the second dose. It’s best if you do so within the recommended timeframe. The guideline is if you received the Pfizer vaccine, your second dose should be given in 21 days plus or minus a couple days; for the Moderna vaccine, it’s 28 days. If you absolutely can’t make it within that timeframe and your second dose has to be pushed out because of weather or travel or something like that, it’s okay. You should still absolutely get the vaccine.

Why is it important for me to wait to get the vaccine if I currently have COVID or I’m waiting for test results?

First, you don’t want to get other people sick if you have COVID. You don’t want to show up at a vaccination site and get other people sick. Second, you don’t want to get an immunization when you are sick yourself. It’s just not a good time to get immunized. Plus, if you have a fever and you show up at the site, you won’t be able to get vaccinated.

Why should I wait to get the vaccine if I’ve had a flu shot — or any other shot — in the past two weeks?

If you get a different vaccine and your immune system is already working, and then you get the COVID vaccine, you may not get the full effect of the COVID vaccine. So, just to be safe and make sure you're getting the full effect of the COVID vaccine, we want to split the timing and not do anything else within two weeks.

Why should I wait to take over-the-counter painkillers after my second dose of vaccine instead of before it?

Medications like Tylenol and ibuprofen can sometimes decrease your body’s immune response somewhat. So, we recommend that you not take those before you get the vaccine. Afterwards, especially if you’re pregnant or develop a fever after the second shot, it’s absolutely appropriate to take some Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain.

What should I expect at my appointment and what should I bring when it’s my time to get the vaccine?

How

I’m 50 years old or older. How do I schedule my appointment?

You can schedule your appointment by visiting: vaccine.coronavirus.in.gov. For help scheduling your appointment, you may call Indiana 2-1-1, or Beacon’s COVID hotline at 855.523.2225.

How will I know when it’s my turn?

People will be notified in a number of ways when it is their turn to receive the vaccine, including through announcements from the State of Indiana, agencies such as AARP, the Area Agency on Aging (REAL Services), state and local health departments, local health care providers, the news media and various social media channels.

How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need and how is it given?

Initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccines will require two doses – 21 days apart for Pfizer and 28 days apart for Moderna. It is imperative to complete the full course of treatment, which includes a second dose of the vaccine, to achieve maximum protection. The vaccines are given as a shot in the upper arm.

Videos

The pandemic has hit communities of color harder than others, and vaccination rates among people of color are lagging behind those of other groups. To address these imbalances, and to urge EVERYONE to get vaccinated, the 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend produced this video in cooperation with Beacon Health System and the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences at Indiana University South Bend. We hope you will help us spread this message so as many people as possible get vaccinated when it is their turn. Thank you to LeAnne Young, RN, Memorial Hospital director of trauma services, and Dr. Freeman Farrow, Beacon Medical Group LaPorte, for using your voices in this important effort.