The risks of severe illnesses resulting in hospitalization or intensive care naturally increase as we age, and COVID-19 is no exception. That’s why the CDC is encouraging adults 65 and older to protect themselves by getting vaccinated. Residents now are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine here at The Kensington Falls Church.
Eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults aged 65 and older. Seniors diagnosed with COVID-19 are at a much higher risk of requiring hospitalization if they are diagnosed, especially as a result of having underlying medical conditions.
Fortunately, the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived, and appears to be 90% effective. It does not infect you with COVID-19, but teaches cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response if someone gets infected. Read on for more information on how the COVID-19 vaccine works and how The Kensington is working to prevent the virus and distribute the vaccine.
COVID-19 Symptoms for Older Adults
The symptoms of COVID-19 appear two to 14 days after exposure. They can be mild, or you may develop a severe illness. Seniors with underlying medical conditions may also experience symptoms that aren’t typical of the illness, or the symptoms can take longer to develop.
It’s important to keep in mind that the normal body temperature for seniors can be lower than younger adults, so fevers may also be lower.
Symptoms of COVID-19 for seniors include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Take note of the following emergency warning signs for COVID-19, which require immediate medical attention:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
- New confusion
Older adults with diabetes or heart or lung disease seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
Can You Get Infected with COVID-19 After the Vaccination?
The COVID-19 vaccine does not infect you with the virus. It is possible to get sick with COVID-19 if you catch the virus soon after you receive the vaccine, because it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity. Since building immunity takes time, it’s important to continue taking every necessary precaution against the virus even after being vaccinated, such as wearing masks, socially distancing, and frequently washing hands.
The COVID-19 vaccine at The Kensington will be given in two doses, spaced weeks apart. The idea is that the first shot gets the immune system ready and helps it identify the virus, and the second dose strengthens the immune response. It is very important to receive both doses.
After receiving both doses and allowing the body to build immunity, you will be protected from getting sick because the vaccine “taught” your body how to recognize and fight the virus.
If you experience mild to moderate symptoms after receiving the vaccine, such as fever, fatigue, or temporary pain at the injection site, this can show that the vaccine is doing its job by triggering the body’s immune system. Again, this does not mean you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, as the vaccine does not expose you to the virus.
Current COVID-19 Prevention Protocols at Falls Church
The Kensington team has been consulting with the Fairfax County Department of Health and following their guidance with regards to testing, vaccinating, and keeping residents and staff safe and healthy.
We have been continually testing all residents and team members. For the safety of all community members, meals and activities have been held in resident rooms. We are maintaining frequent and open communication with all resident families regarding whether outdoor face-to-face visits are permitted.
Other COVID-19 safety protocols remain firmly in place, including frequent sanitation and the use of personal protective equipment. We also continue to monitor resident temperatures and oxygen levels through the day. Residents practice social distancing protocols, wear masks when appropriate, and are reminded and assisted with washing and sanitizing hands throughout the day.
Anticipated COVID-19 Vaccination Protocol for Falls Church
Walgreens Pharmacy will be distributing the COVID-19 vaccine at The Kensington during our own vaccination clinic.
The first doses were administered Jan. 19, with second doses scheduled for Feb. 9. For new residents or those who missed the first clinic date, you can participate in the second round. First vaccinations for these residents will be given Feb. 9, with second doses planned March 2.
Residents will receive the vaccination in their rooms, and our team will be vaccinated on the first floor of the building.
New residents are also eligible for the vaccine! Contact our team to walk you through your options and answer any questions you may have about becoming a part of The Kensington family.
The vaccines, produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Traditional vaccines inject a weakened or inactivated germ into the body. MRNA vaccines enter the cells near the injection site, which will be the upper arm, and instruct cells to start making the same protein found in the COVID-19 virus. Then, the body begins to make antibodies required to fight the virus.
Data from 74,000 people who participated in Phase 3 testing of the vaccines have been analyzed, and reveal the vaccines are safe for distribution.
The Kensington is committed to the health and safety of our residents at all times. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about current protocols or would like more information on the vaccines or distribution.