COVID-19 Vaccines: What Seniors in Home Care Need to Know

The COVID-19 Vaccines: What Seniors in Home Care Need to Know

After nearly a year of mostly bad news, especially for seniors; there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are multiple safe and effective vaccines against the virus that are starting to become available to high-risk general public. Including seniors who live at home.

What Are These Covid-19 Vaccines, and Are They Safe for Seniors in At Home Care?

There are two covid-19 vaccines approved for elderly people by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A third may soon be approved. All three have been shown to be safe and effective. You may have heard different numbers regarding how effective one vaccine or another is. That one is 94% effective and another is only 72% effective.

Those differences may be less important than you think; because the vaccine that was less effective in preventing transmission was actually 100% effective in preventing serious illness and death from the virus.

I’m a Senior Receiving In-Home Care. When Can I Get the Covid-19 Vaccines?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set up a priority schedule for seniors who want to get the vaccine. Seniors who live at home and not in a long term care facilities such as a nursing home; were not included in the  first group eligible to receive the vaccine. Group 1A, as it is sometimes known, included healthcare workers and those living in nursing homes (where the risk of infection is greater than for those who live at home).

Seniors who are over the age of 75 are in the so-called Group 1B. And those aged 65-74 are part of group 1C. Many state and local public health departments, however, are setting slightly different criteria. For example, Cook County Department of Public Health has expanded Group 1B to include all seniors age 65 and over.

Most local Public Health departments are handling signups for vaccination appointments. Cook County residents should start with this vaccination request form. (Note: if your town has it’s own request form, this will redirect you to the correct form). Lake County residents can sign up for the vaccine on their website; and other areas’ departments of public health should have vaccine information as well.

Seniors and the Shot: Getting Vaccinated

The two vaccines approved for seniors living at home both require a two-shot sequence. One with a 28 day waiting period between shots and the other with a 21 day waiting period. When you receive your first shot; you’ll be told to come back in 21 or 28 days. Most providers are scheduling the follow-up shot appointments at the time of the first shot.

An in-home caregiver can help remind you of these appointments. When receiving the shot, you’ll  be asked to stay in the facility where you receive the shot for at least 15 minutes to guard against allergic reactions. Some severe allergic reactions have been reported in less than .027% of vaccinations for COVID-19, meaning in 99.97% cases, there is no severe allergic reaction. It’s important to remember that an allergic reaction is different than feeling side effects of the vaccine.

I’ve Gotten the Shot! What Now?

You may feel some flu-like symptoms for a few days as your body builds its immune response to the disease. The vaccine generally takes up to two weeks after the second shot to become fully effective and so senior citizens in at-home care who’ve received their vaccinations should still be careful.

Even after the vaccine is fully effective, it’s important to continue to wear a mask and practice physical distancing, as there is still quite a bit we don’t know about spreading the virus after vaccination or about how effective the vaccine is against new strains that have been emerging.

How Many People Need to Get Vaccinated Before We Can Go Back to Normal?

For many elderly people, especially seniors who live at home and have an at-home caregiver, the past year has been extremely difficult. Not being able to go out in public, or see family, or attend in-person events like movies or religious services, has taken its toll. But with the development of these vaccines, the end is in sight. How close is it, though? The CDC isn’t yet providing estimates on how much of the population needs to receive the vaccine in order to reach herd immunity, but estimates generally range from 70% up to 95%. By Summer of 2021, enough people will have received the vaccine that things will seem more “normal.”

Home Care Powered by AUAF Provides Care to Keep You Safe

Whether it’s allowing you to stay home by shopping for groceries or reminding you when to receive your vaccination, Home Care Powered by AUAF provides high quality in-home care for elderly people who want to stay in their homes. Call us at 773-274-9262 or contact us to find out more.

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