Cedars of Austin Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information, Prevention Updates & FAQ

Updated January 21, 2020

We had our first on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic for our staff and residents on January 20! Our second clinic will be on February 17th and the third on March 17th. More information is available in the Vaccine Information tab below. 

For photos of our Vaccine Clinic "Party" check out our Facebook Page!

For media coverage of our first vaccine clinic check out our News & Events Page!

Our dedicated caregivers and staff are working tirelessly to prevent serious illnesses while also providing compassionate support and continuing to meet the emotional and health needs of all our residents. We are taking all recommended and necessary measures and doing everything possible to protect the health and wellness of all who live and work here.

While this is a difficult time for our staff, residents and their families, we are honored to stand alongside them as we continue to fight this pandemic, and thank them for their understanding, cooperation, and dedication to standing with us.

For media or press inquiries please contact Ashley Fjelstad at 612-670-2448

We have conducted Point Prevalence Survey testing in accordance with the MDH guidelines.  We have and will continue to do testing on a schedule that is based upon potential exposure on our campus and in the larger community.

Visitor Information

Essential Caregiver Program Information: 

We have implemented an Essential Caregiver program and are grateful for this opportunity to be able to allow some additional one on one time for those residents who qualify for the program.  If you believe your loved one would qualify for an Essential Caregiver visit or if you have questions about the program itself, please email Jill at jbartz@cedarsofaustin.com or call her at 507-437-3246

Indoor Visit Information: 

For information email Jill at jbartz@cedarsofaustin.com or call her at 507-437-3246

Vaccine Information

Please note: due to the fast moving nature of vaccine information and updates, this page will be updated frequently.  

The information on this page is based on guidance from state and local government agencies, industry association groups and the pharmacies conducting the on-site vaccination clinics.
 
Q. What vaccine will be available to residents and staff and who will be administering it? 
A. We will be receiving the Moderna vaccine.  Click here to link to the Moderna vaccination information fact sheet. The Moderna vaccine was chosen for our setting because it is easier to transport and manage compared to the Pfizer vaccine’s ultra-cold storage requirements.

We have enrolled in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Pharmacy Partnership or Long Term Care Program. As part of that, CDC partnered with Walgreens, CVS and Thrifty White pharmacies. Because we have worked with Walgreens in the past for our on-site flu vaccination clinics, we have again partnered with Walgreens pharmacy.   

Walgreens will be providing on-site clinics and will administer the vaccinations. On-site clinics will be scheduled approximately 28 days apart to administer first and second doses.

Click here to link to Walgreens COVID-19 vaccination page. 

Q. When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available to residents and staff?
A. We had our first on-site vaccine clinic for residents and staff on January 20th! We had a party to celebrate. Over 90% of residents received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Our second clinic is scheduled for February 17 and our third for March 17. Those who received their first dose on January 20 will receive their second on February 17.  Staff and residents who were not vaccinated on January 20 will be able to get their first dose on February 17. 

Q. Why should residents and staff get vaccinated? 
A. We encourage all residents and staff to get the two-shot COVID-19 vaccination because it is one of the best ways to protect everyone from the virus. Getting these shots will not only protect residents from being infected; it will help us take a big step towards ending this pandemic and getting life back to normal in our community.  We can’t wait to open our community back up and return to the bustling thriving hive of activity we all love and miss.  There have been no “shortcuts” in ensuring the safety of this vaccine across a very diverse population.  It is strongly recommended by government authorities and medical professionals.  

Q. What is this vaccine?
A. Using new techniques to build a vaccine, pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer announced in November that initial clinical trials showed their offering proved effective in at least 90% of participants. Just one week later, another biotech company, Moderna, announced its own initial results, which suggested their vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing the disease. Both vaccines require a two-dose administration. The second dose must come 21 days following the first for the Pfizer vaccine, or 28 days later in the case of the Moderna vaccine.

Q. Is there a risk that I can get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
A. No, there is no risk of getting COVID-19 from the vaccination. Neither leading vaccine candidate contains the live COVID-19 virus (as is the case for the vast majority of the ~200 vaccines in development). You may experience some side effects from the vaccine such as a sore arm, mild aches, or fever. This is your immune system responding to the vaccine and is expected.  This does not mean you are getting sick with COVID-19.  We need the vaccine to trigger this immune response to produce the immunity you need against COVID-19.
 
Q. How do we know it’s safe since it was developed so quickly?
A. Scientists have worked on coronavirus research for decades starting with the original SARS outbreak and influenza.  Scientists only needed to isolate certain things about COVID-19 to begin creating a vaccine because we already know so much about the type of virus.  Due to the public health crisis created by the pandemic, many private, government and independent groups came together and cooperated on a vaccine.  This scale of cooperation is not typical, and the partnership created resources and information sharing to develop the vaccine faster.  The vaccines have been administered to tens of thousands of trial participants with no significant safety concerns. 
 
Q. What are the side effects of the vaccine? Are there long-term effects?
A. There may be side-effects from the COVID-19 vaccination such as a sore arm, mild, generalized aches, headache, and fever. This vaccine will not make you sick with COVID-19; the side-effects are a result of your body’s immune system working to understand and create a response to the virus which is needed for your immunity. While the long-term effects are still being studied, Dr. Fauci has noted “one of the things that I think the general public didn't fully appreciate that if you go back to the history, as you well know in vaccinology, and you look at what are considered intermediate and long-term effects, more than 90 to 95% of them occur within 30 to 45 days of the actual vaccination. And that's the reason before the Emergency Use Authorization is issued, the FDA demands that there be at least 60 days from the time that 50% of the people in the trial have received their last dose of the vaccine. So we're now well beyond that in both the Moderna and the Pfizer product.”  The first few months show no severe side effects for the general population. As with all vaccinations, long-term effects are monitored for up to 10 years. As with many vaccines, there may be some individuals who should not receive the vaccine based on medical history or their condition on the day of the vaccination clinic. Pharmacy representatives will conduct routine screening to identify these individuals.  We encourage all residents and staff to consult with their primary care provider about the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. 
 
Q. Will I have to pay for it?
A. No, there will be no cost to you for the vaccine. Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone and the CARES Act requires insurers to cover the vaccine without imposing copays, coinsurance or deductibles. You will be asked to provide front and back photocopies of your insurance card with your consent form. For uninsured patients, coverage will be provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
 
Q. Will the vaccine be mandatory?
A. No. Because the vaccination is released under the Emergency Use Authorization, we are not making it mandatory. The vaccination, administered through our pharmacy partners on behalf of and state and federal agencies, requires appropriate consent from residents and staff. We strongly encourage getting vaccinated. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you, particularly those who are at increased risk for severe illness.
 
Q. Will employees be paid for their time to attend a vaccine clinic if they aren’t scheduled to work on the day of vaccine clinics?
A. Yes.
 
Q. When will the vaccine start working and how long is the vaccine effective?
A. Early reports from the FDA are that the vaccine begins to provide significant protection after about two weeks, but the second dose is important to boost the body’s immune response. Because the vaccine is new, the length of immunity is unknown at this time. There are some vaccines that do not require additional shots and there are other vaccines, such as the tetanus vaccine, that require periodic boosters. Current science suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine will be more like the flu vaccine requiring annual dosing, but further research will be required to fully answer this question.
 
Q. Is it better to get natural immunity for COVID by getting the virus instead of the vaccine?
A. In many cases, the way to develop natural immunity to a pathogen is to become sick, have our immune systems respond, and then our immune system “remembers” the pathogen to keep us from getting sick again.  However, our immune systems cannot always “remember” the pathogen; or, it cannot always fight off the virus.  Right now, we don’t know if becoming sick with COVID-19 actually causes you to be immune to re-infection with the virus or not. Scientists and public health officials believe the vaccination does provide immunity to the disease. Additionally, there is no way to be certain whether or not someone with COVID-19 will develop severe disease and suffer significant health complications or not. You will not become sick from the COVID-19 vaccine.
 
Q. If I have had COVID-19, should I still get vaccinated?
A. We are being advised that even people who have had COVID-19 should be vaccinated. The CDC indicates that there is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. We are being told that individuals must wait at least two weeks following a COVID-19 diagnosis to be vaccinated.
 
Q. Can I get the flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine?
A. We are being advised that individuals must wait at least 14 days following other vaccinations like the influenza vaccine to receive the COVID vaccine. Each provider may have slightly different protocols, and the COVID-19 consent form will ask you to list any recent vaccinations.  The COVID vaccine clinics will only be administering the COVID vaccine.
 
Q. Will this get us “back to normal”?
A. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
 
Q. Will I be able to visit my loved one once they have been vaccinated?
A. When it comes to visitor policies and the host of safeguards we have become accustomed to, federal and state health agencies will continue to issue guidance and make these determinations. We expect it will be some time before we see major policy updates. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect these decisions. As of right now we still strongly discourage taking your loved one out of the community for any holiday get together or celebration. 

Q. Who should I contact with questions? 
A. Please contact Ashley Fjelstad at the corporate office at 612-670-2448 or afjelstad@popebucknell.com.

Q. What resources are available? 
A. There are many resources available. See below for some good sources of fact based information. 

MDH Getting Vaccinated for COVID (simple, quick read)

CDC COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ Page 

CDC Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care Program Information

Moderna Vaccine Information Sheet

Walgreens COVID-19 Vaccine Information 

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Information 

The Making of the COVID-19 Vaccination Video from MDH

MDH COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Healthcare Professionals 

Omnicare/CVS COVID-19 Vaccination Resource Page

LeadingAge Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccination Information 

MDH Making a COVID-19 Vaccine Information 

FDA Vaccine Development 101

 

Resources

We are always here to discuss any questions or concerns you may have and encourage you to contact us. Mary Barajas, our Executive Director at 507-355-7103 or mbarajas@cedarsofaustin.com during regular business hours. We know that there will still be questions for which we do not have answers, but we are committed to ensuring we respond to all inquires in a timely manner.

There are resources available: 
U.S. Centers for Disease Control
Minnesota Department of Health

For resources on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the vaccine tab on this page. 

Testimonials

The Cedars provided a very good experience in a very difficult situation.

-Family Member of Resident

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