A COVID-19 Vaccine is just around the corner!
We know how stressful it has been for you since some of the first outbreaks of COVID. We also know how frustrated you all are with all the COVID nose swab testing. Words cannot express our gratitude and sincere appreciation for everything you have done for our residents during this pandemic. We know that the only way to finally put a stop to this "madness" is through following appropriate infection control protocols and to get VACCINATED!
Heritage is so fortunate to be affiliated with a sister company, Green Tree Pharmacy. They have been in continuous contact with the CDC and U.S. government on "OPERATION WARP SPEED," which is the program in which we will all obtain the vaccine. We are being told by Green Tree Pharmacy that the vaccine could be delivered by the end of the year! The vaccine will first be offered to healthcare professionals like you, and our residents before it is offered to the general public.
When the vaccine becomes available, we would encourage ALL employees and ALL residents to be vaccinated. We realize you may have concerns about the safety of the vaccine and may have heard various news clips about "rushing through" the vaccine. We want to emphasize that this vaccine is not a "political one" – it is neither Republican nor Democrat. It is the Solution and The Stop to the COVID pandemic. This vaccine has been through rigorous stages and trials, just like any other vaccine or prescription drug. No corners were cut so that we can feel good about the safety of the vaccine. It still will be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just like all other medicines and vaccines. We encourage you to go to the Mayo Clinic website and research the safety of the vaccine. Here are a couple of links with reputable information -
We will keep you apprised of vaccine release dates and will also be able to provide more information on the vaccine itself. For the safety of YOU, your family, and our residents, please plan on receiving the vaccination. It will be free of charge to you!
Please see the reverse side for answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine
Please begin to communicate these FAQs to staff and residents. And again, THANK YOU for "hanging in there" and helping our residents. HELP is on the Way – COVID VACCINE!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1.Does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
There is a vaccine candidate that has completed all 3 phases of trials as required by the FDA. Within the released data, the vaccine has shown to be 95% effective overall in preventing individuals from getting COVID-19. More than 40,000 volunteers participated in the final phase, with less than 100 becoming positive.
2.How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
The vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. It does require 2 doses separated by 21 days to work fully. No virus or stem cell is used in creating the mRNA vaccine. Conventional vaccines use weakened forms of the virus; mRNA vaccines use only a replica of the virus's genetic code. Once the vaccine is administered into the body, it enters cells and tells them to create a protein that mimics the "spike" on the COVID-19 virus. This protein is not harmful, but it triggers the immune system to begin a defensive response – the production of antibodies. This vaccine essentially is turning your body into its own antibody manufacturing unit.
3.Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The most common side effect of the vaccine was mild to moderate pain at the injection site. Also, some volunteers experienced a low-grade fever after the 2nd dose. Interestingly enough, volunteers over the age of 65 experienced side effects that were even milder than those experienced by younger volunteers. Some may also experience feeling more tired, experience headache, chills, muscle and joint pain. These are all related to your body's immune system generating a response and is a sign that the vaccine is working. Those over the age of 65 experienced fewer of these side effects overall. There were no significant side effects that kept the trial from moving forward to completion.
4.How long after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can I expect to be protected from the virus?
It can only achieve 90%+ effectiveness if both doses are given. There is no data that shows the vaccine is effective after receiving only 1 dose. There is no long term data to tell for sure how long it will provide coverage against COVID-19. It is a reasonable bet that protection will be at a similar level 6-12 months out based on what has been seen in the data 2-3 months out from those who have received the vaccine.
5.What if I choose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
While getting the vaccine is not mandated to remain employed with Heritage, please consider what could happen if you choose not to get vaccinated. While older people and people with serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience lingering COVID-19 symptoms, even young, otherwise healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection. Common lingering effects can include fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint, and chest pain. Other signs and symptoms may include loss of smell or taste, concentration or sleep problems, rash or hair loss. Some have even experienced organ damage to the heart, lungs, or brain.
6.Can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I have previously tested positive or had received the Eli Lilly neutralizing antibody treatment?
There is no current published guidance on either. The general consensus in the medical community is to still recommend the vaccine even if tested positive previously or received the antibody treatment. Immune responses vary greatly post COVID-19 exposure, and the vaccine is an assurance of having the necessary amount of antibodies to give prolonged protection. Eli Lilly does not indicate that there is a contraindication in receiving both the vaccine and the antibody treatment and recommends individuals to receive the vaccine post antibody treatment.