This is what we’ve all been waiting for: the Covid-19 vaccine is finally here, and while the roll-out is not quite as swift as everyone would like it to be, it is getting into the arms of medical providers and first responders.
At this stage, protecting seniors with Covid-19 vaccine is the next priority. If your loved one is concerned about whether it is safe, he needn’t be. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines are highly effective, and both were tested on people over 65. Let’s talk a bit more about what to expect from the vaccine, from how it is administered to its side effects, and what can be gained from your loved one taking it.
Why the Mad Rush
The Centers for Disease Control has done an amazing job of monitoring the Covid-19 vaccine, from development and testing to delivery. While the vaccine is available, with more doses ordered and on the way, the demand is high and distribution difficult. Because each state has developed its own system of prioritizing and dispensing, you may know people in other areas who have had access to the vaccine before you or your loved one has. Other factors such as the difficulty transporting and storing the vaccine has also caused some of the delays.
At this point, in most states, protecting seniors with Covid-19 vaccine is happening. Most nursing home and assisted living facilities have started the inoculation process, and seniors who are aging in place may also receive the vaccine, especially if they have these other health conditions:
- Heart disease
- Blood disorders or cancers
- Chronic kidney disease
- Lung cancer, asthma, or COPD
- History of heart attacks
Keep in mind that your loved one may require two injections for the best immunity. He or she should receive the second shot about three to four weeks later, and yes, these second injections are accounted for in the supply. In addition, most vaccines are available at little to no cost, so from a financial standpoint, your senior should not hesitate.
What About Side Effects
In most cases, the side effects from the Covi-19 vaccine are mild and typical of what you would expect from similar vaccines, such as the flu or pneumonia shots. These are some of the side effects your loved one may experience:
- Pain or swelling at the sight of the injection
These side effects are what make some people think that the vaccine can cause the illness it is intended to prevent, but that is not true; in fact, there is no Covid-19 in the actual vaccine. Rather, side effects are an indication that your immune system is responding and doing its job. If the side effects worsen or last more than a few days, however, you should contact your senior’s health care provider. You or your loved one may have also heard that the side effects are worse after the second injection, but that has not been the case for most older people.
When Can We Go Without Masks
This one is the toughest part of protecting seniors with Covid-19 vaccine. Life is not going to go back to normal now, in a month, or possibly even through the summer. Millions of people are still waiting for their turn for the shot, and at the same time, the Covid virus is mutating, as viruses do. The CDC does believe the current vaccines help with these new strains, but the virus is not going away any time soon.
That means everyone should continue wearing masks, physically distancing, and avoiding crowds. Testing should also continue to minimize infection spread. While seniors may not understand why they are still feeling isolated or cannot gather in groups as they once did, it all boils down to protecting our most vulnerable population. It may take a while until in-person visitation can resume, but at least with the vaccine, your loved one is less likely to get sick or, if they do contact the virus, have a severe reaction.
Encourage your loved one to take the vaccine and to try to be patient for several more months. While you are arranging the vaccine for your senior, consider helping another elderly person who may not be tech savvy or is having difficulty navigating a fairly complicated application system. With more injections in the pipeline, protecting seniors with Covid-19 vaccine should run smoothly and quickly, allowing for people in the general population to step up and get theirs next.
Best of luck to all of us!