What We Know: Vaccine Update at Vincentian
To date, nearly 70% of staff and 90% of residents in Vincentian’s Skilled Nursing Facilities and Personal Care Homes have opted to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. We commend all for their choice to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19. Residents and staff at our Independent Living communities are scheduled to receive their first dose of the vaccine on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination will help protect the recipient from getting COVID-19. Individuals receiving the vaccine may have some side effects, which are normal signs that the body is building protection. These side effects may affect the ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands frequently.
Remember, it takes time for the body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not fully protect individuals until up to two weeks after the second shot.
Our Roadmap: Visitation and Group Activities
At this time, the number of cases and positivity rate (the number of people testing positive compared to the number of tests administered) within Allegheny County is decreasing, which is very welcomed news. Likewise, thousands of Allegheny County residents and the majority of Vincentian’s residents and employees have been vaccinated.
Our Personal Care Homes and Skilled Nursing Facilities have been unable to welcome visitors in recent weeks because the high positivity rate and number of cases in Allegheny County has required twice weekly testing in our buildings, leading to an increased probability of detecting a positive case.
With decreases in both cases and positivity rate, we are hopeful that we may begin to resume modified indoor visitation and other gatherings, like communal dining and small group activities with residents, very soon.
Some Vincentian locations may be able to resume modified indoor visitation within the next few weeks. Please remember that future cases of COVID-19 in a Vincentian community could lead to a return to restrictions on visitation at any time.
As more senior community staff and residents receive the COVID-19 vaccine across Pennsylvania, we hope that the incidence of cases will decrease. We also expect to receive revised guidance from the state Department of Health that could modify some of the restrictive policies that have been in place.
We will be in direct contact with residents and families on an individual community basis as we are able to welcome back visitors and resume small group activities.
What Comes Next
Vincentian will continue to operate with core principles of infection prevention as outlined in guidance from government regulatory agencies. We recognize that this has been an incredibly challenging, frustrating, and upsetting situation for residents and families alike. We are encouraged that so many of our Vincentian residents and staff have been vaccinated, and are hopeful that we have begun to turn a corner in both the fight against COVID-19, and toward less restrictive practices and procedures in our senior communities.
For the immediate future, our communities and staff will continue to follow these core practices, including the use of full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when necessary and universal wearing of face shields and face masks while at work.
Thank you to our caregivers for their unwavering diligence, compassion, and composure during this pandemic, and to our residents and families for their love, support and patience.