Recent news of a breakthrough in COVID-19 vaccine research has rippled through news outlets and social media, offering a glimpse of hope for those most at risk. Several companies have been working toward fast-tracking a vaccine to combat the virus, and Pfizer recently announced an efficacy rate of more than 90%. Now that the vaccine has been approved, it's being made available to those most at risk first.
News of a vaccine is encouraging, but there are still many unanswered questions to be considered. When will the vaccine be available to the general population? Who will be vaccinated after healthcare workers? Will seniors be eligible for the vaccine and if so, should they get it?
Steps Toward a Safe COVID Vaccine for Seniors
The good news is that a vaccine has been approved and distribution has begun. That’s lightning speed in the world of vaccine development, and it means we could begin taking vital steps toward herd immunity relatively soon. However, not everyone will be able to get the vaccine right away. Availability will depend on several factors, including how quickly it can be manufactured, how many doses can be ready for distribution, and whether there are any unforeseen delays.
Pfizer, Moderna and other companies working on a viable vaccine are distributing doses to high-risk people first. That would likely include seniors and those with compromised immune systems.
CVS, for example, is planning to partner with nursing homes and long-term care facilities to administer free vaccines onsite for residents and staff members. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hopes to have enough vaccine doses ready for all seniors, first responders, healthcare professionals, and other high-risk individuals as early as possible.
Should Seniors Get the Vaccine?
Vaccine safety is the million-dollar question across the board. For seniors and their families who may already be at high risk, however, it carries even greater weight. Here are two things to consider as you decide whether the COVID vaccine is right for your loved one:
- Safety Testing - Questions of safety mostly revolve around potential side effects such as fever and fatigue. In the Pfizer trials, researchers initially conducted several small clinical trials specifically targeted towards identifying any safety concerns before proceeding with the large-scale trial. Further trials have been very large and safety has been an important focus of the research. None of the trials have reported any serious side effects associated with the vaccine. At this point in the research, the risks of contracting COVID-19 seem to far outweigh the risks of getting the vaccine, especially for high risk groups including the elderly.
- Consult With Your Doctor - It is important for seniors to follow the advice of their doctor concerning the vaccine. As is the case with any medication or vaccine, there may be individuals who are at higher risk of side effects due to health conditions, illness, or interactions with other medicines. Before making your decision about whether or not the vaccine is right for your family, talk to your doctor. He or she can answer any questions you may have and make recommendations specific to the health condition and needs of your loved one.
How Cherished Companions Can Help Your Family With COVID-19 Safety
At Cherished Companions, we put the safety of our clients and caregivers first. We go above and beyond the call of duty to protect you and your loved ones by following the most up-to-date COVID-19 safety measures and best practices every time we interact with a client. COVID-19 is highly contagious and while we cannot eliminate all risk, we can mitigate risks for our clients and staff.
We also understand that you may have questions about what we’re doing to keep your family safe. You can find more information about our policies and protocols on our COVID-19 resource page.
For further questions, to request resources, or to inquire about getting or becoming a caregiver, contact Cherished Companions today on our website or call (440) 484-5390!