After a full year of social-distancing, mask-wearing, frequent handwashing, and virtual socializing, we may finally be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel! Two highly effective vaccines are being distributed nationwide, and the residents at The Woods at Merrimack (as well as all Sunshine Retirement Living sister communities) are lucky enough to be some of the first in line.
Science and research show that the Covid-19 vaccines are safe. We are encouraging our residents and staff to take the two-part vaccine to protect not only themselves but their entire community. It is time to roll up our sleeves!
In December 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed nationwide. Both vaccines are administered in two parts. The Pfizer vaccine is delivered in your arm, with three weeks between the first and second dose. The Moderna vaccine has a four-week waiting period between doses.
The vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which have been the subject of research for decades. mRNA vaccines work by giving instructions to your cells to make a harmless “spike protein.” The cell displays the spike protein on its surface. The immune system then recognizes that this protein doesn’t belong there and produces antibodies—the exact same thing that happens during a natural COVID-19 infection. The vaccine does not harm or alter DNA. Once the spike proteins are made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.
After the process is over, our bodies retain the ability to fight against future infections. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective after both doses and the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective after both doses.
Here is why you should not wait and see: you are not protected against COVID-19 unless you have received both doses of the vaccine. Contracting COVID-19 could be severe, deadly even, for those who choose to wait and see. Seniors, who are among the most vulnerable, should get the vaccine as soon as possible.
The CDC states: “Both this disease and the vaccine are new. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.”
These vaccines went through the same approval process as all other vaccines on the market. The development of the vaccine was able to happen so quickly thanks to decades of research on mRNA vaccines, as well as and large-scale clinical trials with thousands of participants. Highly qualified doctors and scientists reviewed the entire development process, and both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved by the FDA.
This vaccine has been through many clinical trials to ensure its safety before it was ever distributed. The Moderna trials included approximately 30,000 people, and the Pfizer trials included approximately 44,000 people. Between these trials, more than 14,000 people were over the age of 65. As with any trial, these were closely monitored, and the vaccines were determined safe for emergency use.
Experiencing side effects means that the vaccine is working with your immune system! Most people experience minor side effects that you would expect from any other vaccine - arm soreness, mild headache, fatigue, etc. In some cases, people may experience muscle and joint pain or chills and fever. These side effects go away in just a few days.
Remember, these side effects do not mean you are sick or infected; they mean your immune system is doing its job! The vaccine does not contain the virus, so it cannot give you COVID-19. As with any vaccine, ask your doctor or healthcare provider if the Covid-19 vaccine is right for you.
There are many reasons that we should feel safe taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Our governmental leaders have all publicly rolled up their sleeves to get the vaccine showing their confidence in its safety. The team at The Woods at Merrimack has partnered with CVS and Walgreens national vaccine program COVID-19 vaccine program to provide free vaccination clinics for our residents and staff.
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of The Woods at Merrimack, contact our friendly team today.