We are eagerly awaiting getting the COVID-19 vaccines to our communities. Our teams have been very vigilant in this fight and we are thrilled that we now have an effective tool to fend off this dangerous virus. We are even more pleased to know that through the process of distribution, our residents and staff will be among the first to receive the vaccine!
Koelsch Communities has been working with our pharmacy partner CVS, and our safety teams to ensure we have everything necessary to get this vaccine to our residents and teams as quickly as possible. CVS will soon be sharing dates for vaccination clinics at all Koelsch Communities.
Until then, and even afterwards, we will remain vigilant in keeping our communities safe with continued use of PPE, updated resident safety protocols, and safety standards. We will continue to work with the CDC and reinforce their infection control and safety practices
Preventing the spread of COVID-19 has become such a large part of our daily lives. Through it all, our commitment has stopped at nothing and we remain vigilant in ensuring our residents and staff are safe while living well.
How would a COVID-19 vaccine work?
As with any vaccine, the goal of a COVID-19 vaccine is to expose the body to an antigen that won’t cause disease but will provoke an immune response that can block or kill the virus if a person becomes infected. Vaccines contain either the whole virus or a component. After receiving a vaccine, a person develops immunity to that disease without having to get the disease. The immunity varies based on the type of vaccine you receive. Some vaccines last a year (like the flu vaccine) and others last longer (like the polio vaccine). Current science suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine will be more like the flu vaccine requiring annual dosing, but research will be required to fully answer this question.
Who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination?
CVS Health and Walgreens will receive a supply of the publicly funded COVID-19 vaccine and necessary supplies for administration once the vaccine is authorized and available. This supply of vaccine will be used to provide vaccinations to residents and staff of long-term care facilities, first responders, and hospitals.
Will staff or residents be charged for the vaccine?
No. There will be no cost to the employee or resident. Section 3203 of the CARES Act generally requires issuers offering non-grandfathered group or individual health insurance coverage to cover any qualifying COVID preventative service, including the vaccine, without imposing any cost sharing requirements such as a copay, coinsurance, or deductible. Currently, no patient, resident or staff, will be charged for the vaccine or its administration.
How will the vaccine be administered?
Trained personnel from CVS Pharmacies, staff contracted by Omnicare, Walgreens Pharmacies, or PharMerica personnel will administer vaccines to residents and staff on-site at the community. There is a booster requirement for this vaccine. The booster will be administered on or about 21 days following the initial vaccine. There is no need to restart the vaccine series if given after 21 days and conversely, the booster can be given in as few as 17 days. This booster is needed to build a more complete immunity to the virus. Home Office staff along with EDs and DRSs at the Community are working directly with CVS or Walgreens to schedule on-site vaccination events.
Will I have to sign a consent form to receive the vaccine?
Yes. Consent forms will be mailed directly to each community and will need to be completed by each resident and staff member prior to the scheduled vaccine administration date. Photocopies of each vaccine recipient’s insurance card will be required to accompany the consent form. Your Executive Director will distribute all necessary documents required for the vaccination.
What if I have already tested positive for COVID-19?
According to the CDC, and due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they tested positive for COVID-19.
Are there side effects associated with getting the vaccine?
Side effects of receiving the vaccine are expected. However, these side effects are short-lived and generally resolve within 24 hours. It’s also generally dose dependent and it’s more common to see increased side effects following the second dose. The most commonly associated side effects are Fever, Fatigue, Headache, Muscle Pain, Chills, and Joint Pain. It should be noted that even though side effects for the vaccine are similar to symptoms of the disease, there are a few symptoms including coughing, sore throat, loss of taste/smell, and shortness of breath, that ARE NOT associated with the vaccine. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19.
Where will I receive the vaccination?
CVS, Omnicare staff, Walgreens, or PharMerica will administer both, the first and second round of vaccines, to all staff and residents inside of the Community. During this first phase of vaccination implementation nationwide, there will be no need to go to a clinic, pharmacy or other location to receive the vaccine. You would come to work as normal, be given a time slot to receive it in a pre-staged area inside of the community, and then be vaccinated.
After getting the vaccine, can I still get COVID-19?
Just like with the flu vaccine, if you were exposed or in the early stages of the disease, the vaccine won’t be effective. It generally takes two weeks for a vaccine to become effective in the body (after the second dose in the case of the COVID-19 vaccine). That’s why some people feel like they get the flu when they get a flu vaccine. Their immune system may be ramping up or they may have been exposed and start feeling the symptoms before the vaccine can become effective. Also, like with other vaccines, it is still possible to get sick with COVID-19 even after getting the vaccine. However, the chances are of acquiring it are greatly reduced, and if you get sick typically the course of the disease is shorter and less severe.
How do I report it if I have a problem or a bad reaction after getting the vaccine?
Please inform your Executive Director or supervisor of this reaction. Additionally, the CDC and FDA encourage the public to report possible side effects (called adverse events) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This national system collects these data to look for adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns of occurrence. Learn about the difference between a vaccine side effect and an adverse event. Reports to VAERS help CDC monitor the safety of vaccines. Safety is a top priority. Healthcare providers will be required to report certain adverse events following vaccination to VAERS. Healthcare providers also have to adhere to any revised safety reporting requirements according to FDA’s conditions of authorized use throughout the duration of any Emergency Use Authorization; these requirements would be posted on FDA’s website. The CDC is also implementing a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you should also receive a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe. If you enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-changing environment with updates to local, state, and federal guidance consistently. As changes are announced, we will continue to update this page to reflect.
Please contact your community’s Executive Director with any questions.