Dear Nexion Health Family,
By now you have probably learned that COVID-19 vaccines are approved and ready for distribution to the healthcare workers and residents in long-term care. As an industry and personally as operators, we have long awaited this exciting and important news.
We understand that some of you may be concerned about the safety of these new vaccines, as they have been developed and tested far more quickly than those in the past. We have researched and been under advisement by top industry and healthcare experts and want to assure you that the speed with which these vaccines were developed is not due to skipping important safety steps, but rather the result of focused, collaborative work performed by experts across the globe. When a vaccine is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you can be confident it has undergone the same level of rigorous testing for safety and efficacy as other vaccines, and has been tested in tens of thousands of people, including our precious older adult population. Two independent advisory committees of experts from academic institutions also monitor vaccines to ensure their safety for you and us.
Most of the COVID-19 vaccines require two separate doses given about three or four weeks apart, depending on the vaccine. What we have learned is that participants of the clinical trials reported experiencing short-term side effects after being vaccinated, with more pronounced discomfort after the second dose. These possible side effects documented include headache, muscle pains, fatigue, chills, fever, and pain at the injection site. We know that frequently, there is often a misunderstanding about the cause of these short-term side effects. I’m sure you may have heard someone in the past say a vaccine has “made them sick” or given them the disease that the vaccine was intended to prevent. We want to assure you that this is not the case. We stand behind the research that states the COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you a COVID-19 infection. The vaccine works by helping the body create antibodies to fight off the virus. Feeling discomfort after getting the vaccine means that the vaccine is doing its job and your body is making antibodies. We want you to know that members of our team will work with you to answer your questions, as well as be supportive and understanding of your own vaccine experience. Nexion Health facilities, along with thousands of other long-term care facilities, are participating in a program with the Centers for Disease Control to help us most efficiently distribute these vaccines to our residents and our staff. We will keep you informed of this process as we move forward.
We encourage you to reach out to us or your facility leadership if you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, its possible side effects, and what to expect after you receive it. As we have been saying over the course of this unprecedented year, we are all in this together. Please know that the wellbeing of our staff and residents has been and remains our top priority. We are confident that the worldwide, scientific achievement of these COVID-19 vaccines will eventually enable us to enjoy life with our loved ones again and greatly impact the quality of life for our residents, allowing them the human touch and interaction with their families they desire and deserve to have.
We thank you for your many sacrifices during this pandemic and are grateful for your dedication to our profession.
Fran Kirley, President/CEO
Meera Riner, COO