As the COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out across the country and around the world, it is only natural to have questions about the distribution process and how it may impact you or your loved one.
To address these questions, we gathered a few leading experts for a discussion on how Elmcroft communities are handling the rollout process and what residents and family members need to know.
What’s the current state of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Currently, there are two approved forms of the vaccine that are being distributed in the United States: one from Pfizer and the other from Moderna. Both forms are very similar in terms of efficacy and time between the two doses.
Dr. Jay Fathi, Eclipse Senior Living’s Health Care Consultant, says that while there will likely be additional vaccines released in the future, there is no reason to wait. Both available vaccines are proven and safe, so if you have the opportunity to receive one, you shouldn’t hesitate.
In an effort to slow the spread of the disease, the vaccine is being distributed to specific groups of people who are deemed particularly vulnerable. The federal government recommends that all seniors aged 65 and older are on the priority list, meaning that they can —- and should — receive the vaccine if given the opportunity.
What are the benefits of the vaccine?
We know that the vaccine is available to seniors and residents of Elmcroft communities, but what are the main benefits? From protecting yourself to protecting those around you, there are quite a few reasons to receive the vaccine.
- It’s free. There are no out of pocket costs to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The federal government announced that they will absorb all costs associated with administering and delivering the vaccine.
- It’s tested. This vaccine has been tested in tens of thousands of people over many months and has an approximately 95% chance of cutting your risk of contracting COVID-19. While you may experience some side effects, you will not get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
- It’s safe. Through a transparent review process, the FDA has approved and ensured that the vaccine meets rigorous scientific standards.
- It’s well-received. Over 11 million Americans have received their first dose of the vaccine with numbers continuing to grow each day.
- It’s life-saving. Getting vaccinated helps protect you and your loved ones. The more people who get this vaccine, the more people will be protected.
How is Elmcroft handling vaccine efforts?
Each Elmcroft community is currently set up to host three vaccination clinics. Most clinics will have three separate one-time clinics, while others will run for multiple days depending on the size of the community. Through the HHS Pharmacy Partnership, each community is partnered with a local pharmacy such as CVS or Walgreens to distribute the vaccine to residents and staff.
Already, we’re seeing an overwhelming majority of Elmcroft residents choosing to get the vaccine to protect themselves and those around them. And while we would love to provide the vaccine to family members of residents and staff, we are currently prioritizing residents and associates at this time.
While we continue the vaccine rollout, all Elmcroft communities will continue to follow safety guidelines recommended by the CDC. This means that we will continue with our mask protocol and screen all guests and staff until it is recommended to do otherwise.
Why was the initial rollout slowed?
It is no secret that we are in unprecedented times. Many governing bodies and local governments needed to work together to ensure the vaccine rollout happened as safely and efficiently as possible so that organizations like Elmcroft could receive the vaccine for distribution. In this rollout, there are a few key dates to keep in mind:
- Mid-November: Companies like Elmcroft were eligible to register for the vaccine to be administered and distributed at our communities.
- Early December: The FDA and CDC developed guidelines and other materials for organizations to use in distributing the vaccine.
- December 11: The FDA gave Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Pfizer.
- December 18: The FDA gave EUA to Moderna.
- December 22: The first Elmcroft communities hosted clinics.
The coordination of distributing this vaccine to individuals is no easy feat. There were a variety of logistics that needed to be considered once the vaccine was approved, including transportation to pharmacies that required very specific temperature control to ensure that vaccines were not compromised. Additionally, coordination between the federal and local governments and dispelling myths and misinformation about the vaccine all contributed to a slower rollout than anticipated.
As we move along this process in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination, we encourage you to reach out with any questions. To learn more about how Elmcroft is handling the vaccination, you can view our webinar in its entirety and learn about our complete COVID-19 response here.