After one of the more trying years in recent history from a health standpoint, we’ve crossed a major threshold recently with the approval and production of multiple COVID-19 vaccines. And while everyone around the globe will eventually have access to a vaccine as more and more doses are made, one group that’s near the front of the line due to age-related risks is seniors.
At Cozy Retire, our assisted living community staff are well-versed in a number of health and safety areas, and will be happy to go over vaccine questions or experiences with our residents – as frontline workers ourselves, much of our staff is also on the earlier side of vaccine rollout, meaning we’re experienced with it personally in many cases. Whether you’re a caregiver of a senior who has already gotten the vaccine or is soon to be eligible for one, here is some important information to discuss with your loved one to ensure they’re properly informed and take advantage of this important resource.
First and foremost, it’s important to debunk a common myth regarding both the COVID-19 vaccine and many other vaccines: These do not give you the actual virus they are meant to protect against. Rather, they contain a microscopic amount of a synthetic version of the virus, one that’s meant to inform your immune system of how to react if the virus does infect you – but without actually transmitting the infection. Just to repeat: You will not be infected with COVID-19 when you take the vaccine.
As we mentioned above, the rollout of this vaccine has prioritized those who are most vulnerable to the virus. This means that frontline healthcare workers and those in senior living communities like ours have been some of the first to receive it, along with seniors over the age of 65 who are at particularly high risk of death or other complications from COVID-19. As more time passes and more of the vaccine is manufactured, eventually all segments of society will have access.
The current COVID-19 vaccines in circulation have been tested extensively and approved by the FDA as safe, plus continue to be monitored. The standards here are just as rigorous as those for any other vaccine ever approved in US history.
For a small percentage of people, extremely limited side effects may take place. These include irritation at the injection site in some cases, but more commonly minor fever or fatigue symptoms. These are actually a good sign – they signal that the immune system is working as intended and creating a response for the future.
It’s important to note that even once you’ve received the vaccine, you must continue to take care in public situations, including wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands often. This is because research on whether those vaccinated can still spread the virus despite not being infected with it is not yet complete – we aren’t sure whether this happens or not, so until we know for sure, even those who have been vaccinated have to assume they’re a transmission risk to others who have not received the vaccine.
For more on the COVID-19 vaccine and vital information about it for seniors, or to learn about any of our senior living or assisted living services, speak to the staff at Cozy Retire today.