COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities

Long Island Elder News

Vaccinations are now rolling out in Long Island Assisted Living and Memory Care communities. I want to keep you up to date on the logistics of this rollout and how this might affect the placement of your loved one or your client into one of these communities. And while this update mostly concerns communities in Nassau and Suffolk County, my understanding is that this plan is generally the same in NYC, too. This is the plan and schedule for the communities I have checked in with recently. It is possible that a small number of communities will not be on this schedule - but most are.

Vaccinations are, for many communities, starting next week. Families and staff should have already had the chance to opt-out of the vaccinations, and my information is that the vaccines will not be mandatory for residents and staff. That said, the great majority of residents and most of the staff have agreed to take the vaccine.

As has been well-publicized, the vaccine is delivered in two injections, delivered a few weeks apart.

There are generally going to be three dates for the vaccinations within Assisted Living:

  • The first date in the coming week or so,
  • A second date 21 or 28 days later for both a second injection and a first injection for those that, for some reason, missed the first injection on the first date,
  • And, finally, a third date 21 or 28 days later to 'catch up' those people who got a first vaccination on the middle date.

These three dates should allow current residents and staff to be vaccinated with a period of under two months, with the majority fully vaccinated within approximately the next month.

There are quite a number of questions that have not been answered. For example, will normal activities restart in Assisted Living communities after almost everyone is vaccinated? Will masks still be required? When will normal and relatively unlimited visitation restart? Will vaccinations be required for staff? All these questions, and many others, are being deferred by virtually all communities for now. They are waiting, on a practical basis, to see how effective the vaccine is for their specific situations. They are also, importantly, waiting for guidance from the appropriate government authorities, and this might not come for 2-3 months.

A general observation: The highest rate of vaccination in the country will soon be within Senior Care facilities of all types. Almost everyone in these facilities, both staff and residents, will be vaccinated. In the general population it will be many months - perhaps most of this year - until this level of vaccination is achieved. Assisted Living Communities, because of their extreme precautions with this virus, are very safe now. Adding in vaccinations will only make them safer. For many seniors, living exposed to the virus as they live at home, Assisted Living might be the safest choice.

If I can be helpful in any way as you think about Assisted Living for a loved one or client, please do not hesitate to connect with me.

Mike McClernon