As the world eagerly awaits a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, the team of professionals at Silvergate Fallbrook — the area’s premier senior living community — has been actively planning for its arrival. When the military distributes its stockpile of vaccines under the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program, residents in independent and assisted living communities like Silvergate will be among the first to receive the vaccine in Phase I under the current public health plan.
According to Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar at a recent press conference held at the Centers for Disease Control in late October, sufficient doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be distributed to those most vulnerable to the disease by the end of 2020. The plan identifies seniors 65 and older in group living facilities as a top priority for vaccination, right after front-line healthcare workers and first responders.
“We anticipate that initially, the vaccine will be available in a limited supply.” said Jay Butler, M.D. and deputy director for infectious diseases at the C.D.C. “And when the supply of vaccine is limited, our efforts to vaccinate may need to focus on those who are at highest risk…people at risk include those in long-term care facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities as well as independent living facilities.”
Federal agencies on Friday announced the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, which will provide free end-to-end vaccination management via CVS or Walgreens. Long-Term Care operators like Silvergate can choose to opt in to Phase I distribution to their facilities (or choose to use their existing pharmacy).
“Silvergate has already registered to be part of the Phase I vaccination process, whenever it becomes available. It’s critically important to us to have our residents be first in line for vaccination.” said David Petree, C.E.O. of AmeriCare Health & Retirement, the owner of Silvergate. “One of the tremendous benefits for seniors living at Silvergate is that our team constantly advocates for their health and well-being. Making sure that our residents are vaccinated in Phase I is one more way we are working to protect our population of seniors.”
After drug giants Pfizer and Moderna both recently announced data showing their coronavirus vaccines have effective rates of 95%, nearly 300 million doses could be cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration by mid-December.
“I’m so glad to be here at Silvergate where I will be first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available,” said Sally Cook, a resident at Silvergate. “We’ve all been learning about this virus together, and the only way we’re going to achieve herd immunity is to be vaccinated. I’ll be ready when Silvergate announces it’s here.”
Vaccinations matter according to experts, as it will determine whether the public can reach what epidemiologists call herd immunity — the point where a disease outbreak slows because enough people in a community are protected, leaving the virus with nowhere to go.
When combined with precautions such as face masks, social distancing, contact tracing and testing, the vaccine is expected to substantially reduce the spread of the disease and the chances of infection or serious illness as result of exposure to the virus.
Silvergate plans to take full advantage of the priority seniors will be given in the vaccine roll out plan in order to do their part to stop the spread of the virus and safeguard Silvergate residents as quickly as possible. Staff and residents alike recognize the need for a return to normalcy and a sense of personal safety. Residents who live at Silvergate will receive the vaccine from trained and licensed nurses in the community’s campus health center, in the same way they currently receive annual flu shots or undergo routine medical check-ups.
Local seniors who move into Silvergate before the end of the year will be among those eligible to participate in the Phase I vaccine rollout. Silvergate is nearing capacity with limited apartment homes still available. Visit SilvergateRR.com or to book a private tour of the community, call Helen Gray at (760) 728-8880.