We want to share with you what we know now about the COVID-19 vaccine, how it will be distributed, what we are doing to keep associates, residents, and families of The Retreat at Sunny Vista informed about the process, and our continued commitment to testing, virus mitigation, and the overall quality of life for residents.
While the vaccine is not yet available in the United States, The Retreat at Sunny Vista is ready to receive the vaccine to protect residents and associates in our community as soon as it is available. As a Cappella managed community, The Retreat is registered for the first phase of the vaccine. Priority distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine will go to seniors and healthcare workers who are at the most risk of contracting the virus. We remain in constant communication with the Colorado Department of Health, the CDC, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as details of the distribution process continue to develop.
How will The Retreat at Sunny Vista residents and team members get the vaccine?
Colorado, as well as each state, has its own specific timeline and process for distribution and administration of the vaccine. Colorado has decided to use Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine. We are currently waiting on approval from the FDA for Moderna, and have just receive notification on approval for Pfizer.
So far Colorado will receive 47,000 Pfizer vaccines, which will be distributed to all healthcare workers (180,000) and skilled nursing facility residents (15,000). About 25% of those two populations can be served on the first shipment of the vaccine. We anticipate Colorado will support and follow the CDC tier guidelines for distribution but that has not yet been confirmed.
The Retreat at Sunny Vista is registered with the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. We will work with our assigned pharmacy, Walgreens, who will store, distribute, and administer the vaccine, which is free of charge to residents and team members. The pharmacy will also:
The Retreat at Sunny Vista will not have any authority over setting up the time and dates of those vaccinations. The Pharmacy will be in charge of scheduling and the availability of the vaccine. The pharmacy will then come to our community to administer the vaccines to residents and associates. Three visits over approximately two months will likely be needed to administer both doses and vaccinate new residents and team members. If the resident or team member receives the Pfizer vaccine they must wait 21 days before receiving their second dose. If the resident or team member receives the Moderna vaccine then they must wait 28 days before their second dose. The vaccine starts to become effective 2 weeks after the second dose has been administered.
When can residents of The Retreat at Sunny Vista expect to receive the vaccine?
The FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine as of December 10th and will meet in mid-December to discuss Moderna’s 2-dose vaccine. Once approval is given, the federal government will distribute the vaccine to the states for inoculations. The soonest vaccines could be administered in Colorado would be December 21st for Pfizer and December 28th for Moderna. We are still waiting to hear if the FDA has authorized Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) of the vaccines, once this is granted we will have a better idea on when the vaccines will become available for our community.
Some of the details of how and when and who will get the vaccine first are still being worked out. At the moment, we believe team members will be included and that the first tier to receive the vaccine will be residents of skilled nursing, memory care and assisted living communities. We are waiting to hear if residential (independent) living residents and team members will also be included in the first-tier distribution.
Even through the vaccine is right around the corner we are not out of this pandemic yet. It is important to continue to follow public safety guidelines including physical distancing, frequent hand-washing, limiting group gatherings, restricting nonessential travel, and wearing a mask while we wait for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Join us next week on December 16th for a Facebook Live event where we will review the latest information regarding the vaccine and distribution plan as we know it. To access the Facebook Live event like the Christian Living Communities Facebook page and visit the page on December 16th at 10:15 am.