I wanted to personally write to you and share some thoughts regarding the state mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine. I never imagined that within my lifetime I would experience a pandemic of such deadly magnitude that would result in mandatory regulations for those working in our field of healthcare – our workforce.
Click here to read the rest of Marvin’s memo to our staff.
COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit and Resources
National Health Care Associates affiliate centers remain vigilant and continue to reinforce strict safety measures and infection control protocols. However, the COVID-19 vaccine provides an essential layer of protection from the virus. This page will be updated frequently with updates from NHCA, as well as authoritative resources, to help our staff remained informed in defeating COVID.
FAQ with Ann Spenard, CCO, about the COVID-19 Vaccines
A: The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being issued under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA. An EUA makes the vaccine available for public health emergencies. It means that the vaccine is available outside of a research study but has not yet reached full FDA approval, which takes some time. This is the typical first step for a new vaccine. The research continues as it moves toward full approval.
A: Because COVID-19 vaccines clinical trials only started in the summer of 2020, it is not yet clear if these vaccines will have long-term side effects. However, vaccines rarely cause long-term side effects.
A: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Recent data shows that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant people outweigh any known or potential risks. Vaccination during pregnancy may help transfer protective antibodies to the baby through the placenta and breastmilk. These antibodies may lower the chance of the baby getting COVID-19. If you have concerns, talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits.
A: No. People who want to get pregnant in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are being studied carefully now and will continue to be studied for many years, similar to other vaccines. There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility.
A: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. General best practices for immunization do not include a history of GBS as a contraindication to vaccination; it is a precaution for influenza vaccines and tetanus-toxoid containing vaccines in limited situations. Reports of adverse events following use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine under EUA suggest an increased risk of GBS during the 42 days following vaccination. No increased risk of GBS has been identified with mRNA vaccines during use under EUA.
People with a history of GBS can receive any currently FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. However, given the possible association between the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and an increased risk of GBS, a patient with a history of GBS and their clinical team should discuss the availability of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to offer protection against COVID-19.
A: No, the COVID vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Vaccines teach our immune system how to fight against a specific virus. They work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. In order to do its job, the COVID-19 vaccine does not need to go inside the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is. This means the vaccine never interacts with our DNA in any way and has no way to change it.
A: The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are mRNA vaccines that use tiny parts called messenger RNA (mRNA) carried in very tiny lipid particles. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines differ in the way the mRNA is built or the way the lipids are used. The two vaccines are also stored in different ways, but each requires two doses.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a vector vaccine, which places genetic material from the COVID-19 virus inside a weakened version of the adenovirus that cannot cause illness. Adenoviruses are very common viruses that usually cause colds. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose.
A: Some people may experience side effects after receiving a vaccination. However, this is normal sign that your body is building protection. The most common side effects are minor and include tiredness, headache, pain at the injection site, muscle pain, chills, nausea or fever. Any side effects should subside within a few days.
A: Vaccines go through more testing than any other pharmaceuticals. First, small groups of people receive a trial vaccine. Next, the vaccine is administered to people with certain characteristics such as age, race and health. The vaccine is they given to tens of thousands of people and tested for effectiveness and safety.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) studies the data to determine if the vaccine works and is safe. The FDA then looks at the data and the advice from the ACIP and decides whether to approve the vaccine. The vaccine is only approved after all of these steps have been completed, and when the experts sure that the vaccine is safe and effective. In fact, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now FDA approved.
A: COVID-19 vaccination will protect most people from getting sick with COVID-19. A very small percentage of fully vaccinated people will may still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. These are breakthrough cases. The overall risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 is much lower in vaccinated individuals than among unvaccinated people with similar risk factors.
A: Yes, people who have previously had COVID-19 should get vaccinated. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible to contract COVID again. However, vaccinated individuals are protected against severe disease and death.
A: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can help prevent you from getting COVID-19 or from becoming seriously ill or dying due to COVID-19. It can also help prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading and replicating, which allows it to mutate and possibly become more resistant to vaccines. Wearing masks and social distancing help lower your chance of getting the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
Below is a list of authoritative resources to help you make an informed decision about the COVID-19 vaccine.
#PassportToBetterHealth: Featured Staff Testimonials
Our Patients’ Safety
Our Centers are exercising an abundance of caution and taking every measure possible to protect our patients. Our patients are always our highest priority.
We are following the guidance of state and local Departments of Health and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As COVID-19 evolves, we are updating our plans as necessary. We continue to be guided by our mission to ensure the health and wellbeing of those in our care.
NHCA Infection Control Protocols
Mandatory supplemental training for all Center employees about COVID-19 and best practices for patient care, infection control, and personal safety – building on the training they already receive at regular intervals during the year.
Strict handwashing hygiene, and infection control protocols have been enforced and closely monitored in all NHCA Centers.
All staff are screened daily and closely monitored for possible exposure or illness in accordance with infection control best practices and state and federal guidelines.
We stockpiled sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure that all team members in our Centers have appropriate PPE.
Our clinicians are constantly circulating to observe residents and ensure that all housekeeping, hygiene and infection control measures are being properly carried out and to respond to any questions.
WE CARE Family Communication
As part of our ongoing efforts to provide residents and their families with peace of mind, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed the WE CARE Family Communication Plan. This plan outlines our efforts and commitment to providing valuable information and updates to families and loved ones.
Last year, began utilizing a new technology that allows updates, as well as any other relevant communications, to be distributed automatically via text and email.
To receive these communications, residents, patients, and their loved ones will need to ensure that the Center has updated contact information. We will also continue to post updates to our WE CARE Family Communication Plan to our website.
We look forward to the added capabilities this technology will offer in helping us provide trusted, quality care to our residents.
Until further notice, visits to our Centers are restricted as part of a nationwide effort to stem the exposure of COVID-19. This measure applies to all visitors, except in situations such as end-of-life care.
During this challenging time, we care that you continue to stay connected with your loved one. While the comfort you bring cannot be shown in person, our Centers are equipped to allow you and your loved one to enjoy virtual visits. Virtual visits can be arranged by contacting our Centers directly.