Our Senior Care’s Guide to the Vaccine Rollout

January 22, 2021

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 17.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered as of January 21.

This is welcome news for long term care staff, residents and families who have waited eagerly, but patiently for the end of the pandemic. 

As the new administration works with states to distribute the vaccine to priority communities like vulnerable seniors, it is important that we take steps to protect ourselves and each other as vaccine distribution continues to unfold.

Step 1: Get to know the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccines will help prevent people from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. The vaccines currently approved for use are administered in two doses to ensure the best results: the first dose followed by a second dose 21 to 28 days later. 

Side effects typically mimic those of a flu shot – pain and swelling near the injection site with mild flu-like symptoms.This shows the vaccine is working and your body is building up protection. Read more about the vaccine’s side effects from the CDC.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. The vaccines have been heavily tested in over 60,000 people, with clinical trials of more than 70,000 people who were monitored for two months after their second dose.

Step 2: Learn about vaccine distribution in your area.

COVID-19 vaccines are being offered to vulnerable groups first – and long term care residents are a priority on that list. In fact, many providers have successfully delivered their first doses and are moving onto the second.

You can find state and county-specific information about distribution by searching your state’s Department of Health website.

Step 3: Stay vigilant, even if you and your loved ones are vaccinated.

As long term care providers work hard to protect their residents, it is critical that we continue to follow infection control measures like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

Even if you or your loved one has been vaccinated, the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t guarantee complete immunity. People who receive the vaccine may still be able to spread the virus to others. The vaccine is the best tool we have to bring an end to the pandemic, but we must still continue to be on guard.

The COVID-19 vaccines are an exciting development. While there is still a long road ahead, they offer those with loved ones in long term care something invaluable: hope.