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What to do if you receive a message about problems with the COVID-19 vaccine you received

A medical expert explains what people should do if they are notified about problems with the cold chain or administration of the vaccine beyond the use-by date.

COLORADO, USA — A recent notification that nearly 20,000 doses of vaccines were administered after the expiration date or had cold chain issues could be cause for concern and discomfort for some people. Those people will need to receive another vaccine, according to a medical expert.

According to Dr. Ricardo González-Fisher of Servicios de la Raza, affected people will be notified by text or email about these issues, and while he says some may be frustrated, he encourages people to view these notifications from a positive point of view. 

He says that these actions show high-quality pharmacovigilance and should not be seen as failures but as a success of the system.

"Every single dose of vaccine that has been given in the state of Colorado has been impressively tracked," Gonzalez-Fisher said. "So much so that we can identify from the millions of vaccines that have been applied, close to, they said 20,000 vaccines, we can identify exactly where, when and who was the person who received this vaccine and can be called back to get re-vaccinated."  

González-Fisher said that COVID-19 vaccines come from the manufacturer frozen and have a certain shelf life in refrigerators, but a disruption with the cold chain of the vaccine and some vaccines were administered after the shelf life, will require people to be revaccinated.

According to González-Fisher, when these problems arise, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a strict protocol, a documented code of what should happen next.  

"Once a person has this message, the vaccine will be removed from the system and the person can be revaccinated."

If you get that message, it will be from that vaccine system and the person can get vaccinated again.

"Go to your doctor, to your vaccination center, to your pharmacy as soon as possible to get your vaccine again," he said.  

Heading into the fall and winter, Gonzalez-Fisher also gave an update on COVID-19, using Europe as a model for what could be to come.

“Sadly… a wave is growing again, we see impressive numbers of what is happening in Europe," he said. "Cases are increasing, cases are multiplying threefold. Hospitalizations are doubling.” 

González-Fisher says our best monitor in the US right now is to see what is happening in Europe. 

“Weeks or months later it is what is happening on the North American continent, particularly in the United States," he said. 

He advises people to continue to practice social distancing, use disinfectant, wear a mask if they around people they don't know and where there are large crowds indoors, and get vaccinated or boosted.  

Servicios De La Raza, the state's largest nonprofit serving Latinos, will continue to offer its vaccination clinic each week on Thursdays. 

Vaccination day was recently changed from Tuesday to Thursday to cater to people who may be concerned about their side effects.  

"Some people are afraid of having to miss work because they have some side effect of the vaccine and they prefer, if they are going to have it, to have it for a weekend." 

Vaccines are available from 4 - 8 p.m. at the organization, which is located at 3131 W. 14th Ave. Appointments are not required but are recommended. People can call 303-458-5851 to make an appointment.

No form of identification, Social Security number or health insurance is required to get vaccinated.

This month, in honor of BIPOC Mental Health Month, Servicios de La Raza’s Behavioral Health Department will host The Five Senses: Holistic Health Festival July 23 at La Raza Park .

Attendees can expect to be introduced to various healing modalities in a safe and immersive experience with activities that include yoga, aromatherapy, health screenings, limpias, and other holistic cultural practices.  

This is a free event and it will be held at 1501 W 38th Ave. in Denver from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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