Coronavirus Update 01/28/2021

Vaccination is the critical third leg of the stool, along with personal protective equipment and testing, in stemming COVID-19 spread in nursing homes and protecting residents and healthcare workers. This is unquestionably the biggest vaccination effort ever undertaken. The vaccine will help protect both staff and the vulnerable patients and residents they care for and prevent further tragedies. We are very excited to enter what will hopefully be the last phase of this pandemic.

As of January 12, 2021, we are happy to report that approximately 84% of our nursing homes have received dose one of the vaccine, primarily utilizing CVS, our chosen partner through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care program. Many centers are also starting their second vaccine clinics this week. How does the vaccination process work? After the first clinic, CVS will return three to four weeks later to administer the second booster shots for those who received the vaccine in round one and will also vaccinate anyone not included in round one. They will then return for a third time, three to four weeks after round two, to administer the final booster shots.

Thus far, there have been minimal side effects after patients, residents and staff received dose one.

We continue to communicate with patients, residents, families and staff members to stress the importance of receiving the vaccine and how it will work. This is our shot to help end this pandemic and keep our communities safe. We have a robust communication and education initiative underway, encouraging vaccination. Should patients, residents, families and staff members have any additional questions about the vaccine or to learn more, please contact the center immediately to speak with the Center's medical director. There are no additional clinics scheduled for the first dose of the vaccine after clinic two, so now is the time to get vaccinated!

Finally, many families are asking whether visitation can resume once vaccination of the center is complete. While we are so excited to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccines, we must remain vigilant. The vaccine will not provide immediate protection and we still need to see prevalence in the surrounding communities decline. Therefore, nursing homes will need to continue with the same visitation and infection control practices put in place throughout this pandemic, including surveillance, PPE, testing, etc. We will be looking to the CDC to provide guidance in the coming months on whether visitation can resume.

It is hard to believe that the holiday season is fast approaching. We know that spending the holiday season with friends and family is always important, especially this time of year. That’s why we are working hard to make it as special as possible despite the ongoing pandemic.