The coronavirus pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges that our Five Star team members, clients, residents and their families have faced head-on. The first two COVID-19 vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and more are in the pipeline. Now that vaccinations have begun in the United States, Five Star residents and team members are among the first to take advantage of the federal plan prioritizing long-term care residents and workers. For Five Star, that includes skilled nursing, memory care, assisted living and staff in every one of our communities -- at no cost to them. Long-term care residents will also be in one of the first waves of vaccination recipients as directed by their state guidelines.
Five Star Senior Living Director of Nursing Is First Team Member to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
The Court at Palm Aire Director of Nursing Jerelene Graham was the first Five Star team member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, Dec. 19. "I feel relieved. I feel safer. I feel like this is a long time coming, and I would encourage all the employees, if you do have the opportunity, to go ahead and get it. Do not take your information from social media or Facebook -- not a good spot to get it! Do your research. It was quick, easy, and I have quite a few members that have already taken it. Everybody's fine, and I do encourage you, please, go out and get the shot.” Watch the video of Jerelene here.
COVID-19 Vaccine for Senior Residents & Team Members Update
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which have received EUA, are being administered within Five Star through our distribution partner, Omnicare, a CVS Health subsidiary. Residents and team members in four Five Star communities received COVID-19 vaccinations on Dec 18 and 19, and the vaccine will arrive in at least six more communities before year-end.
The COVID-19 vaccine was developed and tested in multiple phases as required for all vaccines. Tens of thousands of people received the vaccine during the tests, and effectiveness and safety was monitored for eight weeks. Before approving a vaccine, the FDA independently and rigorously analyzes data from the clinical trial. EUA is not granted until this independent analysis is completed. Findings reveal both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be greater than 94% effective in preventing COVID-19, and any associated side effects were not serious and resolved within 24 hours after administration.
“Our residents and frontline caregivers are among the most vulnerable to this pandemic,” says Five Star Chief Medical Officer Dr. Priti Jindal. “The Five Star COVID-19 task force has closely monitored the vaccine’s development process from the beginning and chosen a course that we feel to be the safest and most effective for Five Star. We are making every effort to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to our team members and residents as soon as our distribution partner, CVS, is ready.”
COVID-19 Vaccine Administration in Senior Living Communities
The vaccine requires two doses a few weeks apart. The Five Star task force has planned for a vaccine clinic in every Five Star community and will time the clinics to administer the required two doses to each recipient. Based on current projections, there is enough supply to vaccinate the majority of Five Star and Ageility team members and residents.
“Although we are confident that the COVID-19 vaccine will transform the healthcare landscape,” says Dr. Jindal, “here at Five Star, we will continue maintaining all the safety protocols currently in place to help protect residents, clients and team members, including the appropriate use of personal protective equipment, ongoing community testing, social distancing and specialized, enhanced cleaning. As a trusted partner, we go above and beyond to keep our residents, team members, clients and their families safe and happy.”