Dear Castle Senior Living residents and families,
We cannot thank you enough for your perseverance and compassion during the Coronavirus pandemic. The past year has presented numerous challenges for all of us, but we are happy to announce that after careful planning and coordination, the State of Wisconsin was able to reserve enough of Wisconsin’s Moderna vaccine allocation to ensure all residents and staff at Assisted Living communities enrolled in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program could receive the vaccine and be protected against COVID-19.
What does this mean? Castle Senior Living residents and staff will soon be eligible to receive the Moderna Coronavirus vaccine (delivered onsite) at all our communities. There are many questions about this process, so we would like to take the time, in advance, to share what we know, answer some questions and alleviate some concerns you may have. Additionally, please use this helpful resource from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/toolkits/long-term-care/downloads/answering-residents-loved-ones-questions.pdf
Will the Coronavirus vaccine be mandatory for Castle Senior Living residents and staff at this time?
No, the vaccine will not be a requirement for residency at Castle Senior Living at this time. However, to protect all our residents and employees, residents and staff are strongly encouraged to receive the vaccine.
Our residents represent one of the most vulnerable, at risk, groups of people who are likely to become very ill, or die, from COVID-19. Assisted Living and Long-Term Care residents make up only about 1% of the U.S. population, but they account for over 40% of the deaths associated with COVID-19 in the U.S. By participating in the COVID-19 vaccination program, you play a vital role in keeping our residents, employees, and family members safe and healthy.
Do I have to pay for the vaccine?
No, the vaccine will be given free of charge. The doses were already paid for by the federal government through taxpayer funding.
Do I have to have health insurance to get a vaccine?
If you have health insurance, you will be required to provide your insurance information so CVS or Walgreens can bill insurance providers for the administration of the vaccine. If you do not have insurance, you may still receive the vaccine free of charge.
When will the vaccine clinic occur?
We are waiting to hear back from our partners at CVS and Walgreens as to when the vaccine clinics will occur. The vaccine is available to Assisted Living residents and staff in the State of Wisconsin beginning January 25, 2021, so we anticipate vaccine clinic dates to be set in the next few days. Some of our communities have already been assigned vaccine clinic dates. As soon as we have more information, we will reach out to all our residents and staff at each location.
Each community will have three different vaccine clinics spaced between 24-32 days apart. Our trained pharmacy partners at Walgreens and CVS will be responsible for administering the vaccine and reporting the necessary information to the Wisconsin Immunization Registry and the CDC.
If you are a Health Care POA or Guardian for one of our residents, please be on the lookout for vaccine information authorization consent forms. Your community leadership team will be reaching out to all residents and responsible parties with consent forms and vaccine information.
Is the vaccine safe?
We realize there are many concerns about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, given that the vaccine is new technology and has been developed rapidly. However, we would not offer the vaccine to our residents and staff if there was a scientific indication that it was unsafe.
It is important to know that the Moderna vaccine is being held to the same safety standards as all vaccines. Multiple expert and independent scientific groups evaluated the safety and efficacy of the Moderna vaccine data before it was authorized for use. These independent committees include the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) and The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP.
If I have already had COVID-19, should I receive the Moderna Vaccine?
Yes, you should still get the Moderna vaccine if you have already had COVID-19. Getting COVID-19 likely offers some immunity from reinfection from the virus in most cases, but scientists and medical professionals are unsure how long that protection last. Because reinfection of COVID-19 is possible, it is recommended that people who have already had COVID-19 get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The one main exception is if you have received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of a COVID-19 treatment in the past 90 days. If you have received this COVID-19 treatment in the past 90 days, it is recommended that the vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days from the date of therapy, as a precautionary measure to avoid interference of the antibody treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses. If you are unsure if you have had this treatment, please consult with your physician.
We hope you will join us in this tremendous effort to protect our residents and staff from COVID-19. If you have any other questions, or concerns, about the vaccine or the vaccination clinic process, please do not hesitate to reach out to Diana Howell or your community leadership team directly.
Stay safe and stay well.