January 12, 2021
We know there are a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. To that end, we are hoping to share what we know, reliable sources and links, and report out as soon as possible about vaccination plans with SEEC.
At this time, there are several priority phases that have been recommended by the CDC and implemented at the state levels, notably, Phase 1a, Phase 1b, Phase 1c and beyond.
Phase 1a- hospital and long-term care healthcare workers, and residents of long-term care facilities
Phase 1b- people 75 years and older, and frontline essential workers
Phase 1c- people 65-74 years old, and 16-64 with high risk medical conditions, and other essential workers
SEEC took advantage of a federal program and signed up to be a Long-Term Care partner agency with CVS to enable faster administration of vaccines in the MD. We are still learning the details of the program, but are confident both the people we support AND our staff will be in the first phases of receiving the vaccines.
Please understand each state’s allocation of vaccines is different, and we are dependent on how state’s allocations of vaccines are deployed across state, and industries.
Note: this website is tracking vaccine data across the state https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/#Vaccine 12-28-20 only 20K vaccines have been administered
Yes, we are developing a vaccination plan for all people who receive our supports AND our staff. We have identified people in tiers of risk in order to prioritize them for vaccination. We are assigned to work with CVS, who has been identified by the federal government as one of the national pharmacies through which vaccine will be provided. At this time, we understand CVS will hold 3 or more clinics at our office to administer both doses of the vaccines to as many of the people we support AND staff as possible. We will utilize tiers of health risk to prioritize participants.
NOTE: We will communicate with our community as these plans develop and evolve; and, we will contact people or their legal representatives, friends and family members when appropriate. Please DO NOT CALL to find out when you or your loved one is being vaccinated—we don’t know.
SEEC has already developed risk tiers based on medical information, and environmental information gathered over the last few months. Specifically, our risk tiers are based on
- Those who have the highest risk for medical complications based on risk factors, including age, co-existing conditions, home/living circumstances, to name a few.
- Where does the person(s) live and/or work, and are those settings higher risk
- Individual choice and preference will be taken into account.
In addition, we will need to identify those who have significant medication allergies that may or are likely to result in a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccination.
SEEC will not be administering vaccines, but we are actually working with CVS, under the federal LTC vaccine program launched in Nov 2020. CVS, along with Walgreens are the pharmacies to distribute the vaccination, administer it, and provide any related supports. Although we don’t know all the details, we understand that CVS will provide staff to administer the vaccines, as well as store/transfer vaccines for each clinic.
As you have probably already read, there are 2 Vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA; the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine. Despite record-breaking speeds to create, test and obtain approval for these vaccines, all the science and research points to both being incredibly safe and effective.
If you’d like to learn more about how the CDC makes vaccine recommendations follow this link https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations-process.html
No, due to limited capacities of both vaccines, the allocation of vaccines is determined by the state and their deployment plan. The pharmacy (CVS) administering the vaccine will advise us which one of the options they have available.
When the government realized the potential of this pandemic it removed all the typical bureaucratic obstacles, which are substantial. The same large animal and human studies were conducted, massive federal funding was provided, stages that were typically conducted separately were allowed to be combined and critical research was shared by the researchers. The scientific rigor applied to the process—by pharmaceutical companies around the globe and all at once—was substantial and there is little, reasonable debate over the safety of the vaccines.
Yes. The CDC continues to monitor the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. For additional information on the safety protocols and practices please follow this link https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety.html
We do know there are side effects, like there are with virtually any vaccine or medication. The vast majority of side effects are both minor and temporary; however, there are serious side effects about which we all need to stay aware and vigilant. Recently, based on 2 cases in the UK, more attention is being paid to significant allergic reactions to the vaccines called anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening. The number of these cases is exceptionally small, and amounts to less than 1% of the total number of vaccinations administered.
Most common side effects are pain/soreness, swelling and/or redness at the injection site, headache and fatigue. Some have reported chills or developing a low-grade fever, feeling achy—what appears, by description, to look like COVID-19—and diarrhea.
Serious side effects in the clinical trials were experienced by 0.6% of the vaccine group, and included myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, and sudden drops in blood pressure resulting in fainting (all heart issues), appendicitis and, as outlined above, anaphylaxis (allergic reaction). Arrangements are being made, as part of SEEC’s planning, to allow for up to 20 minutes immediately following vaccination for monitoring for any of these or other side effects by a trained healthcare professional.
Yes. Both vaccines are between 94-95% effective, overall, against COVID-19, per the clinical trials, which in total included nearly 75,000 people.
We also note that the effectiveness—in the language from the clinical trials and subsequent reporting, the efficacy—was essentially unchanged across groups defined by age categories or the presence of co-existing conditions. We believe this is essential information when considering any potential increases in risk or changes in efficacy specifically for people with IDD. (Note that there is no way to know if any of the 75,000 participants in the clinical trials for both vaccines were people with IDD; however, we do know that people with IDD tend to live with significantly greater prevalence of co-existing conditions, such as obesity and related cardiovascular issues, pulmonary disease, and diabetes, all of which are known conditions that make COVID-19 infections far more dangerous.)
No. The vaccine does not contain any live virus and therefore you cannot contract COVID-19. Instead, the vaccine consists of genetic material that instructs the body’s natural immune system on how to identify the COVID-19 virus and how to attack it and prevent it from entering your cells and replicating.
Yes. There are three potential ways of contracting COVID-19 after being vaccinated. First, while both FDA-authorized vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) are between 94-95% effective, there is a small chance that the vaccine won’t work on a very small number of people (the 5-6% delta between the efficacy ratings of the vaccines and 100%). We note that no vaccine is 100% effective, so this is a fairly standard and extraordinarily small chance the vaccine won’t work. Second, because both vaccines require two doses, between 21 and 28 days apart, there is a chance someone could contract COVID-19 between doses. And third, it’s possible—improbable, but possible—that someone could contract COVID-19 after receiving both doses of the vaccine if there has been inadequate time after the second of the two doses for the body to fully develop the antibodies the vaccines are designed to trigger. It’s not altogether clear how long the body needs to develop immunity once the vaccination is fully delivered, but estimates are two to “a few” weeks. To this end, we continue to urge everyone to wear your masks, wash your hands well and frequently, and continue to practice physical distancing even after becoming vaccinated.
Both the Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines consist of two injections. For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the two injections are 21 days apart; and, for the Moderna vaccine, the two are 28 days apart.
The vaccine is administered by intramuscular injection—they’re shots. There is no other way to administer at this time.
CDC recommends that people get the vaccine, whether they have already had the COVID-19 disease or not.
The federal government is subsidizing the cost of producing these vaccines, and as such there will be no cost for SEEC persons or staff. The pharmacies administering the vaccines may be able to charge an administration fee to insurers, and thus it is important that persons supported by SEEC, and staff have available copies (front and back) of their insurance cards.
SEEC will work with those people and will consult with primary care physicians and members of the persons’ support teams to address their needs, allay fears and concerns, and make certain that are making fully informed healthcare choices.
Yes. There may be medical exemptions, which will be considered on a case by case basis. As a matter of agency policy, vaccines such as the Influenza and this COVID-19 vaccine are critical in protecting our most vulnerable people and as such are mandated for our essential frontline workforce.
We will be reaching out to you in the coming days, to review the consent forms that will be necessary to enable vaccination to happen. As we understand at this time, the pharmacies administering the vaccines will also require copies (front and back) of any insurance cards, such as Medicaid, Medicare, etc. Please be prepared to have these copies also available for SEEC administration.
Once we get more details about clinics, and clinic dates, we will reach out with additional information about the logistics, and documentation required.