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Coronavirus Update 12.31.20

Dear Residents & Families of Aldersly,

Earlier this month, we sent out communication regarding the COVID-19 vaccine approval and plan for distribution to health care workers and residents in long-term care settings. Our community was assigned scheduled clinic hours for administering the vaccine through our pharmacy partner, CVS, for the Health Center residents and staff. This occurred yesterday and we were able to get Health Center residents and most staff vaccinated. We will provide this additional information to you as it becomes available.

To prepare ourselves for the vaccination process well in advance, the Front Office team has begun the process by gathering insurance information and consent form of residents in Independent Living. Responsible parties for Assisted Living will be provided with the online consent form to fill out on behalf of residents unable to provide consent. We strongly encourage you to sign up for the vaccination program over the next week.

Aldersly has been put on the Tier 1 priority list. Our first clinic was only scheduled to contain 40 initial doses. However, the pharmacist and pharmacy technician stayed late to ensure we could use all the doses, including the reserves for our community. In the end, she vaccinated 72 people. We provided those doses to our health center residents, health center staff and a few others in different areas and departments. Our secondary clinic, scheduled for January 20th, will have more vaccine doses and will be available for all remaining staff and all additional residents who would like to be vaccinated.

Please know that the health and safety of residents and employees have been our top priority during this past year and will remain so. While the vaccine is not required, we are doing our part by encouraging everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and we hope you will join us in this effort. I, along with 70% of our Aldersly staff have already taken the first dose of the vaccine through the county to show our support and commitment to stop the spread of this virus.

We understand that these vaccines are safe, even though they have been developed and tested far more quickly than those in the past. According to the FDA and CDC, the vaccines were not developed by skipping important safety steps, but instead were the result of focused, collaborative work performed by experts worldwide. The vaccines were approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through the Emergency Use Authorization approval. We were advised they have undergone the same level of rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness as other vaccines, including having been tested with tens of thousands of people, including older adults.

The COVID-19 vaccines provided by CVS will require two separate doses given three weeks apart. For the Pfizer vaccine, the second dose is 21 days after the first. Some participants in the clinical trials have reported short-term side effects after being vaccinated, with more pronounced discomfort after the second dose. According to the drug manufacturers, these possible side effects include headache, muscle pains, fatigue, chills, fever, and pain at the injection site.

Sometimes there is a misunderstanding about the cause of these reactions. You may have heard someone say that a vaccine has “made them sick” or given them the disease that the vaccine was intended to prevent. We understand that this is not the case. We have been informed that the COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you a COVID-19 infection. The vaccine works by helping the body create antibodies to fight off the virus. The drug manufacturers tell us that feeling discomfort after getting the vaccine means that the vaccine is doing its job and your body is making antibodies.

Everyone must do all we can to remain COVID-19 free prior to receiving the vaccine. People who have tested positive cannot get the vaccine until 30 days after testing positive. This means any future resident or staff that gets the virus beyond this date will NOT be able to get the vaccine at Aldersly. They will have to get vaccinated with the general population.

Over the next few days, we will continue to do everything we can to care for all of our residents, especially those affected by the virus. Preet, our Administrator, the Assisted Living team, and several people from other departments have been doing a great job keeping our residents in Assisted Living hydrated, eating and well oxygenated. This is essential to help their bodies fight the disease. Please keep our staff, residents and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Please contact me if you have any questions about the vaccine, its possible side effects, and what to expect after you or a loved one receives it, or consult your personal physician regarding any specific concerns related to your health.

We wish you all a safe holiday and a better 2021!

Gilbert Carrasco

Executive Director 415-453-7425