COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
At The Village at Penn State we have been working diligently, putting procedures in place and taking steps to protect our residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these initiatives were put into place prior to recommendations from the Centers from Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
We are happy to share that our residents and staff have been made a priority for vaccinations. We have already held several distribution clinics within our community. This wonderful news means we are one step closer in our battle against the virus. As more information becomes available, we will continue to provide updates regarding the vaccine. In particular, we are waiting for clarity on the timing of the vaccine for our residents living in Independent Living. The prioritization of our residents and staff has created a sense and optimism among our staff, our residents, and their families.
While this page is a resource for frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine specifically, more information, such as admissions, visitations and more can be found on our COVID-19 FAQ page by clicking here.
If you have further questions please contact our Executive Director, Ellen Corbin, at [email protected].
Q: What vaccine are you offering?
We are enrolled as priority recipients for the Pfizer vaccine.Close
Q: What is your plan for distribution?
The Village is part of a federal initiative with CVS who will be administer the vaccine to our residents and staff. We distributed the first dose for residents and staff on January 8, 2021, and the second distribution of the vaccine occurred on January 29, 2021. Additional distribution clinics occurred on February 4, 2021, February 19, 2021, February 27, 2021, March 4, 2021, and March 20, 2021. As we prepared for distribution within our community we worked quickly to contact residents, primary contacts, and staff members to coordinate all necessary paperwork which will authorize us to provide the vaccine. We have also provided information about the vaccine to our staff and residents.Close
Q: How will we know the vaccine is safe?
The health and well-being of our residents and staff is always our highest priority. The FDA advises a minimum of 3,000 participants in a trial of a vaccine to assess its safety. For the Covid-19 phase 3 trials, there have been 30,000 to 50,000 participants rather than just 3,000. These numbers have provided scientist with an exceptional amount of data to rely while assessing the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.
What’s more, the FDA requires 8 weeks of safety monitoring. Two independent advisory committees monitor vaccines to ensure safety—The Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The Pfizer vaccine, which we are distributing, has been vetted and approved by these organizations.Close
Q: How will we know that the vaccine will be effective?
The Federal Drug Administration requires 50% efficacy—meaning it creates a reduction of Covid-19 by at least 50% in cases of those who are vaccinated—of a Covid-19 drug. For context, the yearly Flu vaccine has an efficacy rate of between 40-60%. The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer, which we are distributing, showed a 94-95% efficacy in preventing Covid-19 disease during their trial phases. Eight weeks of safety data is required by the FDA for the Covid-19 vaccine giving us even more insight into the overall effectiveness.
At this time we do not have date to indicate how long receipts are protected by the vaccine.Close
Q: What are the side effects?
Any vaccination can cause side effects. Often these are minor (for example, a sore arm or low-grade fever) and most people do not have serious problems in reaction to vaccines.
Current information suggests that some side effects have been experienced by some but not all recipients of the vaccine, including tiredness, head ache, muscle weakness, chills, joint pain, and low-grade fever. As the vaccine is distributed, experts learn more about the side effects of specific vaccines. This information will be shared as we learn more.Close
Q: Will the vaccine give me Covid-19?
No. We are distributing the Pfizer vaccine, which contains proteins rather than a live virus. While some recipients of the vaccine experience symptoms, such as a low-grade fever or head ached, this is part of the normal process as the body builds immunity. There is a possibility of a vaccine recipient to contract the virus if they have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to being vaccinated.Close
Q: How many doses will I need to take?
The Pfizer vaccine, which is being made available to our residents and staff, requires two doses to be effective.Close
Q: When can I get a vaccine?
The CDC has recommended a phased allocation of the Covid-19 vaccines. Long term care facilities and health care providers were included in phase 1A of the phased approach. This means that residents and staff members living and working at a care community along with other health care professional have been prioritized from the first delivery of vaccinations.
Phase 1b will include essential workers such as education, food & agriculture, utilities, police, etc.). Phase 1C includes adults with high-risk medical conditions and those age 65 or better. It is currently being estimated that phase 1C will not begin for 15 weeks after the initial roll out of the vaccine.
The allocation of the vaccine will be decided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.Close
Q: Will residents and staff still need to wear masks and social distance?
Yes. Recipients of the vaccine will still be required to follow safety protocols, including wearing masks and socially distancing. The Village at Penn State will continue to take all necessary steps to mitigate the risk of exposure to our residents and staff.
Every day, experts gain more information about the virus and the impact of the vaccine. As more information becomes available they will be able to make decisions pertaining to masks and social distancing.Close
Q: I read on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube / Etc….
We understand that there is a plethora of information available online and in the media. While there are trusted sources such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services, there is also a lot of inaccurate information available regarding the COVID-19 vaccination.
Please utilize the links above for more information, or speak with your doctor about the virus and vaccine.Close
Q: Where can I find more information?
- Centers for Disease Control
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Frequently Asked Questions about Covid-19 Vaccination
- Pfizer and Biontech conclude phase 3 Study of Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate, Meeting all Primary Efficacy Endpoints
- Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting FDA Briefing Document Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine – December 10, 2020
- The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
- Questions and Answers about the Covid-19 Vaccine for PALTC Staff, Patients, Residents, and Family Members
- FDA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers