Local Covid-19 Vaccine Doctors Answer Your Questions
On Tuesday, February 23, Lakeview Village hosted a live virtual event and educational discussion about the Covid-19 vaccine. The objective of the program was simple—to give our Lakeview Village friends access to information, directly from our medical professionals.
To start, Robbie Clausen, President and CEO of Lakeview Village and Pam Hermon, COO and RN expressed how proud they were to be able to facilitate a dialogue with trusted sources. As far as how the vaccine rollout went for Lakeview Village, the short answer was: beautifully. Approximately 1500 people at Lakeview Village, residents, staff and caregivers, have been vaccinated. To date, 75% of them were over the age of 65 and no one experienced concerning side effects. One or two of the younger staff members experienced a day or two of mild to moderate symptoms like fever and chills, and they were back to normal in a short span of time.
Lakeview Village Medical Director Dr. Stephanie Garcia and Dr. Ryan Sears, Director of Operations for Elite Patient Care, were the featured speakers. Both are board certified geriatricians, and both serve on the Long-Term Care Covid-19 Task Force for Johnson County, Kansas. The whole goal of this live event was to let attendees ask questions and to hopefully set their minds at ease about receiving the vaccine.
Dr. Garcia said regarding the successful vaccinations, “It feels like a party for all of us. A celebration after a lot of dark months.” She also remarked that seeing the hard work of staff and caregivers getting the vaccine to residents was a powerful experience.
The message the two doctors delivered was clear—the best way to get ahold of the virus and get back to normal interactions is the vaccine, and it needs to be at the forefront of our efforts.
For approximately 55-minutes of this presentation, the doctors covered dozens of questions like:
* Where do we get the vaccine in our area?
* Should we get the vaccine if we’ve had Covid-19?
* Should we take a painkiller before receiving the vaccine? (The short answer, NO!)
* How long does the vaccine work?
* Why are we being asked to double mask?
* Will the vaccine allow us to stop double masking?
* Once vaccinated can we remove our masks while outside?
* What is herd immunity?
* Will we need to get booster shots every year or is this one and done?
Here are a few answers from the doctors to some pressing questions:
IS THE VACCINE SAFE?
In answering the question of whether or not the vaccine is truly safe—Dr. Sears has no doubt. Safety means that the likelihood of adverse effects is very low and if side effects are experienced, they are most often limited to fever, body aches, fatigue and soreness at the injection site—all symptoms which typically subside in a matter of days. Dr. Sears also spoke regarding the vaccine trials prior to FDA approval as well as the nearly 52- million people in the US as of last month who have been inoculated, deeming the vaccine both very safe and effective.
DOES IT MATTER WHICH VACCINE I GET?
There are several different manufacturers and types of vaccines, and it can all get a little bit confusing.
The vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer are both a two-shot series. You get the first injection, and then several weeks later the second “booster” shot. Some virtual attendees had concerns about being able to get the first shot and then the second one not being available when it was time. According to the doctors, even if you have to wait a little bit longer than planned for that second shot, it’s OK. It’s important to get the second shot eventually, as soon as it’s available in your area. You might run into a situation where you have to go to a new or different location to get the second shot. They said that’s fine, as long as you’re getting both shots from the same manufacturer. Doctors do not advise mixing vaccine brands. So, for example, if you get the first Moderna shot, you will want to follow up with the second Moderna shot. If you get the first Pfizer shot, you should get the second Pfizer shot. Do not mix Moderna and Pfizer.
Dr. Sears says, “The big picture is that there are multiple versions of the vaccine and there will be more coming out. All will have different numbers and percentages attached, but don’t get hung up on that.” All versions of the vaccine have a high effectiveness at preventing severe illness. Just because a percentage is lower doesn’t mean that it doesn’t provide really great protection.
“If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the first one you have access to, get it.” Dr. Sears said what’s most important is that we get as many people as possible to take the vaccination. The sooner we do, the sooner we will return to some sense of normalcy. Vaccines provide broad levels of immunity, and that is the overall goal in order to reduce transmission and prevent people from getting gravely ill if they are exposed to the virus.
WHAT ABOUT VIRUS VARIATIONS, STRAINS OR MUTATIONS?
Many people have heard about new strains of the virus, like what’s happening in the United Kingdom, for example. One strain might be different from another in how easily it’s transmitted or how much of the virus gets reproduced in your system. The key takeaway is that the vaccine is very effective, and you should not put off getting it based on the idea of variants. Mutations and variations have been happening all along. Dr. Sears talks about why getting the vaccine helps reduce the chances of the virus mutating. In this short video, hear Dr. Sears explain how the virus mutates.
To hear the entire presentation, ask the doctors or other presenters a question, or simply learn more about Lakeview Village Retirement Community reach out to Lynn Tenbrink at Ltenbrink@lakeviewvillage.org or by calling 913-744-2447.
According to Dr. Stephanie Garcia, in many ways the new normal has already arrived at Lakeview Village. Residents in independent living have been able to have indoor visitors in their apartments for the last six months. A screening process and strict adherence to guidelines set by the CDC has made that possible. By following the guidelines of doctors and scientists regarding wearing masks, social distancing, handwashing and small gatherings, Lakeview Village has afforded many of its residents a chance to connect with friends and loved ones in meaningful ways all along. The goal is, and has always been, to maintain connectedness while being safe.
On the other side of the Village, residents have been able to see and connect with loved ones through window barriers, Zoom, FaceTime and by making use of the heated outdoor tent to visit in an open-air environment.
The Lakeview Village remodeling team created a system where residents can see and hold hands (using gloves) with friends and loved ones so that the element of personal touch isn’t lost. Visits through screening protocol happens in a very safe way in order to promote meaningful interactions.
In other news, move-ins are still taking place and there is new construction happening along the lakefront. Tours are available, albeit following new protocols. Pam Hermon stated, “We are showing our new prospects that we are taking precautions very seriously, and it’s actually making people feel safe about choosing Lakeview Village for their retirement and continuum of care community.”
Many prospects coming in for tours have been living alone during the pandemic and have been amazed at the Lakeview Village environment and the ways people are connecting and building community. Hermon went on to say that, “The sense of community and feeling of family is the #1 reason prospects choose Lakeview Village.”
For more about Lakeview Village Retirement Community reach out to Lynn Tenbrink at Ltenbrink@lakeviewvillage.org or by calling 913-744-2447.