Senior care facilities prepare for vaccine
Around the globe, there are now five vaccines being delivered with the goal of stopping the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic ravaged the world, including the United States, throughout 2020.
The vaccines include the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Sputnik 5, Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech.
Pfizer, an American company, teamed up with the German BioNTech to develop and produce a vaccine that requires two injections several weeks apart to immunize.
ModernaTX, an American company, manufacturers the Moderna vaccine. This vaccine also requires two injections.
ModernaTX received emergency use authorization Dec. 18, 2020, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer received the same authorization November 2020.
The Russian Federation vaccine called the Sputnik 5 was the first vaccine provided to humans outside of trials. The vaccine did not complete phase 3 clinical trials before rolling out, which raised early questions about its safety. Sputnik 5 also requires two doses for immunization.
Two vaccines have been developed in China. One is produced by a Chinese state company called Sinopharm, and a second vaccine developed by a Chinese-based company is called Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Third-phase trials of both vaccines are in the process. Both vaccines require two doses, weeks apart.
There is another vaccine in phase 3 trials that is a partnership with Canada and China called CanSino Biologics. This is a single-dose vaccine and is expected out to the public perhaps in March or April.
Additionally Johnson & Johnson has a vaccine in phase 3 clinical trials. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires only one shot. It is expected to receive emergency use authorization in February.
Another phase 3 vaccine that also might hit the public soon is a vaccine developed jointly and being clinically tested by Astra-Zeneca and Oxford University, England.
Some Lehigh Valley residents began receiving the Pfizer vaccine in December. These are essential health care workers and senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities serving the elderly.
The Pfizer vaccine along with the Moderna vaccine will be used to vaccinate most people in the United States over the coming months.
Fellowship Community and Whitehall Manor are prepared to receive the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.
Reportedly, Fellowship residents and staff started receiving the vaccine Jan. 5.
Both facilities will allow residents and staff to opt out of taking the vaccine. Taking the vaccine, at this point, is not mandatory. Also, they are not offering any financial incentive for staff to be vaccinated.
Mary Kay McMahon, president and CEO of Fellowship Community, noted her leadership team provided the staff with education about the vaccine and its safety in preparation for the vaccine rollout. After educating her staff, she provided a survey to learn if staff would take the vaccine.
“My goal was to hopefully get 50 percent of staff to agree to take a vaccine,” McMahon said. “I was very, very happy to see 63 or 64 percent of staff would take the vaccine.”
Fellowship teamed up with CVS to have its pharmacy staff provide the injections and help monitor results.
Whitehall Manor, according to the facility’s president, Nemo Kapoor-Atiyeh, opted to have her staff and company trained and designated a state-approved COVID-19 vaccine provider. They trained, completed the certification requirements and developed a professional team to administer the vaccines to their staff and residents.
Kapoor-Atiyeh noted they plan to help the community because of Whitehall Manor’s official provider status by assisting with vaccinations of first responders and wherever they can help increase vaccination compliance in Whitehall.
“We are excited about being able to help our community with vaccine administration to make things better,” Kapoor-Atiyeh said.
McMahon noted community safety relies on vaccination.
“If anyone has concerns about taking the vaccine, they should meet with their PCP or nurse practitioner to determine if they can safely get vaccinated,” she said.