COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
At Paul's Run we have been working diligently, putting procedures in place and taking steps to protect our residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these initiatives were put into place prior to recommendations from the Centers from Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
We are happy to share that our residents and staff have been made a priority for vaccinations. We have already held several distribution clinics within our community. This wonderful news means we are one step closer in our battle against the virus. As more information becomes available, we will continue to provide updates regarding the vaccine. In particular, we are waiting for clarity on the timing of the vaccine for our residents living in Independent Living. The prioritization of our residents and staff has created a sense and optimism among our staff, our residents, and their families.
While this page is a resource for frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine specifically, more information, such as admissions, visitations and more can be found on our COVID-19 FAQ page by clicking here.
If you have further questions please contact our Executive Director, Bill Hines, at [email protected].
Q: What vaccine are you offering?
We are enrolled as priority recipients for the Pfizer vaccine.Close
Q: What is your plan for distribution?
Paul's Run is part of a federal initiative with CVS who will be administer the vaccine to our residents and staff. We distributed the first dose on January 5, 2021 for skilled nursing residents and all staff. Their second dose was distributed on January 26, 2021. Likewise, personal care residents received the first dose on January 26, 2021, and the second dose was distributed to them on February 5, 2021. An additional distribution clinic was held on February 16, 2021. We held a distribution clinic on February 28, 2021, for congregant living. We will also have distribution dates for congregate living on March 21, 2021, and a third distribution date for congregate living on April 11, 2021.
As we prepare for distribution within our community we will work quickly to contact residents, primary contacts, and staff members to coordinate all necessary paperwork which will authorize us to provide the vaccine. We have already begun to provide information about the vaccine to our staff and residents.Close
Q: How will we know the vaccine is safe?
The health and well-being of our residents and staff is always our highest priority. The FDA advises a minimum of 3,000 participants in a trial of a vaccine to assess its safety. For the Covid-19 phase 3 trials, there have been 30,000 to 50,000 participants rather than just 3,000. These numbers have provided scientist with an exceptional amount of data to rely while assessing the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.
What’s more, the FDA requires 8 weeks of safety monitoring. Two independent advisory committees monitor vaccines to ensure safety—The Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The Pfizer vaccine, which we are distributing, has been vetted and approved by these organizations.Close
Q: How will we know that the vaccine will be effective?
The Federal Drug Administration requires 50% efficacy—meaning it creates a reduction of Covid-19 by at least 50% in cases of those who are vaccinated—of a Covid-19 drug. For context, the yearly Flu vaccine has an efficacy rate of between 40-60%. The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer, which we are distributing, showed a 94-95% efficacy in preventing Covid-19 disease during their trial phases. Eight weeks of safety data is required by the FDA for the Covid-19 vaccine giving us even more insight into the overall effectiveness.
At this time we do not have date to indicate how long receipts are protected by the vaccine.Close
Q: What are the side effects?
Any vaccination can cause side effects. Often these are minor (for example, a sore arm or low-grade fever) and most people do not have serious problems in reaction to vaccines.
Current information suggests that some side effects have been experienced by some but not all recipients of the vaccine, including tiredness, head ache, muscle weakness, chills, joint pain, and low-grade fever. As the vaccine is distributed, experts learn more about the side effects of specific vaccines. This information will be shared as we learn more.Close
Q: Will the vaccine give me Covid-19?
No. We are distributing the Pfizer vaccine, which contains proteins rather than a live virus. While some recipients of the vaccine experience symptoms, such as a low-grade fever or head ached, this is part of the normal process as the body builds immunity. There is a possibility of a vaccine recipient to contract the virus if they have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to being vaccinated.Close
Q: How many doses will I need to take?
The Pfizer vaccine, which is being made available to our residents and staff, requires two doses to be effective.Close
Q: When can I get a vaccine?
The CDC has recommended a phased allocation of the Covid-19 vaccines. Long term care facilities and health care providers were included in phase 1A of the phased approach. This means that residents and staff members living and working at a care community along with other health care professional have been prioritized from the first delivery of vaccinations.
Phase 1b will include essential workers such as education, food & agriculture, utilities, police, etc.). Phase 1C includes adults with high-risk medical conditions and those age 65 or better. It is currently being estimated that phase 1C will not begin for 15 weeks after the initial roll out of the vaccine.
The allocation of the vaccine will be decided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.Close
Q: Will residents and staff still need to wear masks and social distance?
Yes. Recipients of the vaccine will still be required to follow safety protocols, including wearing masks and socially distancing. Paul's Run will continue to take all necessary steps to mitigate the risk of exposure to our residents and staff.
Every day, experts gain more information about the virus and the impact of the vaccine. As more information becomes available they will be able to make decisions pertaining to masks and social distancing.Close
Q: I read on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube / Etc….
We understand that there is a plethora of information available online and in the media. While there are trusted sources such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services, there is also a lot of inaccurate information available regarding the COVID-19 vaccination.
Please utilize the links above for more information, or speak with your doctor about the virus and vaccine.Close
Q: Where can I find more information?
- Centers for Disease Control
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Frequently Asked Questions about Covid-19 Vaccination
- Pfizer and Biontech conclude phase 3 Study of Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate, Meeting all Primary Efficacy Endpoints
- Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting FDA Briefing Document Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine – December 10, 2020
- The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
- Questions and Answers about the Covid-19 Vaccine for PALTC Staff, Patients, Residents, and Family Members
- FDA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers
Q: A letter from the CEO of Liberty Lutheran, our parent organization
Dear Residents and Families,
Many questions are being asked by our residents and family members regarding the Covid-19 vaccine and what our position is regarding our staff members. We thought it would be helpful to share our thinking with you so that you might better understand what our position is.
We very much value our employees and appreciate the incredible effort and commitment they have shown for so long to our residents, families and to each other before and now during the pandemic. We believe it is appropriate to fully encourage the vaccine, educate with all of the tools that we have, and ultimately respect their decision about receiving the vaccine. We have put quite a bit of energy into sharing with our staff all of the available and known information about the benefits of the vaccine as well as the possible side effects, although minimal. We have selected role models within our organization as well as nationally who have exemplified different cultural representations in order to give a broad perspective and encourage this action.
You may be aware that there is vaccine hesitancy within different groups in the USA, and it was interesting for me to see that The US Census Bureau with the CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics have studied this issue. While 60% of US adults have either received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or say they will definitely get one, there are geographic and demographic divides in the willingness to get vaccinated. You might find the summary in the following link to be helpful (WSJ link). While 1 in 5 unvaccinated Whites and Hispanics say they will definitely or probably get a vaccine, that number is about 33% in Black populations. The article further evaluates other demographic factors such as age, gender, education and income. In the senior living industry, as of March 26th, the CDC reports that the staff acceptance rate is 37.5% after the first clinic, while here at Paul’s Run, we have vaccinated to date 249 staff members over 70% after 8 vaccine clinics. While we are not resting on our laurels and want this rate to be 100% and doing everything we can to increase this rate, we are celebrating this success thus far.
It might be helpful for you to understand the following things:
- At Liberty Lutheran, we strive to create an employee culture built on mutual respect where each individual is valued for who they are as individuals. The article referenced above delves into the whole variety of reasons why people have vaccine hesitancy, much with good reason, and our view is that this preference needs to be respected. I find it helpful to put myself in other people’s shoes so that I can better understand where they are coming from.
- Our position is that we highly encourage staff to receive the vaccine. To support this we have provided numerous sources of education for our staff, provided incentive pay for those who receive their second vaccine, and treated our clinic days as joyful celebrations.
- The COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency use authorization that does not take the place of full authorizations. Requiring people to get a vaccine that has only emergency authorization would be unprecedented. We expect there would be legal ramifications.
- We are aware that a few organizations are requiring employees to get the vaccine. However, the majority of our related hospital systems, including Jefferson Health System, Main Line Health and Mount Nittany Health System, are not mandating the vaccine, and most of our local senior living competitors are acting in the same manor.
We have also received some questions regarding vaccinated residents only receiving care and services from vaccinated staff. Although we fully appreciate the request, please know it is not operationally practical or efficient to accomplish. We hope that at some point we can say that all of our staff will be vaccinated, although we recognize that may not occur.
I hope this has addressed the concerns that we have heard. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions.
Luanne B. Fisher, Ph.D.Close
President and CEO