Argentum Logo_RGB2

 

We’ve heard conflicting statements regarding whether independent living residents are prioritized for vaccination in the first tier. Can you clarify their vaccination priority? Were IL residents and employees included in CDC’s recommended top priority for getting the vaccine? And does the state have authority to establish a subset of prioritization such as SNF, then AL, and then IL?

Vaccination prioritization has been, and remains, a fluid situation. Initial recommendations from CDC called for prioritizing independent living and assisted living staff and residents for early phases of vaccination. The recommendation for independent living residents was subsequently revised lower based on lower than expected vaccine supplies.

Many states and localities are following the CDC’s recommendations for priority administration of vaccines, and some are not. Consider contacting state/local health departments for options for vaccine clinics in your area.

On December 1, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that health care personnel and long-term care facility residents be offered COVID-19 vaccination first (Phase 1a). On December 20, ACIP updated interim vaccine allocation recommendations. In Phase 1b, COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to persons aged ≥75 years and non-health care frontline essential workers, and in Phase 1c, to persons aged 65–74 years, persons aged 16–64 years with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not included in Phase 1b.

What information can I share that may help promote vaccine uptake among staff, residents, and family members who are concerned about vaccine safety?

Vaccines are approved and authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has an excellent track record for vaccine safety. No steps in this process were skipped for emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Of the 57 vaccines approved by FDA from 1996 through 2015, only one was subsequently withdrawn and that was done less than two months following approval.

The average size for phase three vaccine trials over the period noted above was just over 4,100 participants, and the largest trial included just over 10,000 participants. By comparison, the phase 3 trials for Pfizer (over 43,000 participants) and Moderna (over 30,000 participants) were much larger.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have shown to be 94 to 95% effective in preventing COVID-19, while side effects are mostly mild to moderate and typically disappear within one to two days.

My community did not register for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. Is it too late to register? What should we do to get our residents and staff vaccinated? Who should we contact?

It is too late to register for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. Contact your state health department for information about how to schedule a vaccine clinic for your community.

When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available to the general public?

There is no exact answer to this question. It depends on several factors, including how many other vaccines get authorized for use over the first couple of months of 2021. In general, authorities are estimating that Americans who want a vaccine will have access by mid-year 2021 at the latest, and it would be even earlier.

How much does it cost a senior living resident or staff member to get vaccinated?

The cost for the vaccines is free, covered by the U.S. government. There is an administrative fee for vaccination, and that cost will be covered by insurers.

Should individuals who have already had COVID-19 get the vaccine?

CDC recommends vaccination for individuals who have previously contracted COVID-19. Since cases of re-infection have shown to be very rare thus far, individuals who previously contracted COVID-19 may opt to wait for 90 days after being cleared to allow for others to get vaccinated.

Should individuals who are currently infected with COVID-19 get vaccinated?

Individuals who are infected with COVID-19 should wait at least 14 days after clearing the virus to get vaccinated.

If a person can’t get vaccinated because they have COVID-19, how long should they wait before getting vaccinated?

Individuals who are infected with COVID-19 should wait at least 14 days after clearing the virus to get vaccinated.

Is it advisable for individuals to get multiple vaccines at one time – for example, a flu vaccine AND a COVID-19 vaccine?

Individuals should wait at least 14 days after getting vaccinated before getting a different vaccine, to minimize the probability of reducing the effectiveness of either vaccine.

How long do the immunization benefits of a vaccine last?

This information is currently unknown.

What are the side effects of vaccines, and how long do those side-effects typically last?

In general, side effects of the currently-authorized vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have been described as mostly mild to moderate, including such things as muscle aches, headache, pain at the site of injection. These side effects typically clear up within one to two days.

There have been very rare instances where individuals have experienced severe allergic reactions following vaccination – particularly among individuals who have a history of allergy to medicines. These cases cleared up shortly after treatment with epinephrine, epi-pins, diphenhydramine, or other antihistamine.

Review the FDA emergency use authorization letter for specific information about a particular vaccine.

Is the prevalence or severity of side effects impacted by age, race, or ethnicity?

In general, side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been described as mostly mild to moderate, including such things as muscle aches, headache, and pain at the site of injection. These side effects typically clear up within one to two days.

There have been very rare instances where individuals have experienced severe allergic reactions following vaccination – particularly among individuals who have a history of allergy to medicines. These cases cleared up shortly after treatment with epinephrine, epi-pins, diphenhydramine, or other antihistamine.

There was no significant difference in side effects or efficacy reported for different races or ethnic groups. Side effects among older adults were less prevalent in some vaccine trials.

Review the FDA emergency use authorization letter for specific information about a particular vaccine.

Will vaccination cause individuals to test positive for COVID-19?

COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests. Per CDC: Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.​

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. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
Source: Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

How will vaccination records be tracked for staff and residents who change communities?

Vaccine recipients will receive a vaccination card that can be used as proof of vaccination.

How will providers be able to verify whether a resident of staff member has been vaccinated?

Vaccine recipients will receive a vaccination card that can be used as proof of vaccination.

How broadly should we define “staff” when planning for vaccinations? For example, should we include therapists, volunteer workers, and others who frequently come into our communities?

When planning for vaccinations for community personnel, the recommendation is to include volunteers, third part providers, and others who frequently enter the community to broadly promote vaccination among these individuals.

Are vaccines safe for individuals who have underlying health conditions?

Individuals with underlying health conditions should consult with their primary care physician before deciding whether to get vaccinated.

Are the vaccines safe for older adults?

In general, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been regarded as safe. There were no data from published clinical trials that would indicate safety concerns for older adults.

Can staff vaccination be mandated by states and/or employers?

Yes, with limited exceptions. The EEOC shared guidance indicating that employers can require proof of COVID-19 vaccination from employees, with some exceptions. The guidance confirms that employers will be permitted to implement and maintain mandatory vaccination policies, provided employers reasonably accommodate certain types of employees. The guidance also explains the meaning of reasonable accommodation and offers two main categories for exceptions: employees who cannot be vaccinated for disability-related reasons; and employees who refuse the COVID vaccine because of sincerely-held religious beliefs.
Additional source: When Employers Can Require COVID-19 Vaccinations

Will each person need a physician’s order to be able to get vaccinated?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19 were the first mRNA vaccines to be approved for use in humans.

Will individuals who get vaccinated still need to wear respiratory protection?

Vaccine recipients will need to continue to take safety precautions, including wearing respiratory protection, for the foreseeable future – until virus levels have dropped off substantially.


DISCLAIMER
Argentum, its executive staff, consultants, and volunteers, have attempted to provide the best possible information as a service to the association’s membership in a situation that is very quickly evolving and about which so much is unknown.  Therefore, Argentum can provide no assurances nor even make any representations about the reliability or accuracy of this information.  Each senior living company and each community must make decisions that each regards as in the best interests of the health and safety of the residents.  Argentum specifically disclaims responsibility or liability for the information it is providing from any legal, regulatory, medical, or compliance point of view.

 

Stay Connected

Get updates on the latest news impacting senior living through our Argentum Daily newsletter.

×

Login.

Forgot Password
Create an Account