Our Best Shot for the Future: COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics at the Witherell

In early January, the Nathaniel Witherell began vaccinating our residents and staff against COVID-19. As of today, many at our facility have been fully vaccinated and our clinics will continue providing vaccinations this month. In the words of our medical director, Dr. Frank Walsh, “It’s important for us all to do everything we can to end this pandemic—this includes getting vaccinated.”

While we’re hopeful that vaccine availability will continue to grow, a central part of our program has included information sessions on the vaccine. As a top healthcare facility in the community, we’d like to share some of that insight so that everyone will be prepared and ready. We also realize that since many seniors will be fully vaccinated before their family members, it’s important for everyone to know “what’s next” so that we can continue to keep each other healthy and safe.

  • Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two injections — the initial shot and a booster three or four weeks later.
  • Clinical studies have shown that the vaccines are safe and effective. The Pfizer vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95% and the Moderna vaccine, 94%.
  • According to the CDC, serious side effects are very rare and track along the same rate as the annual influenza vaccine.
  • Since neither of the vaccines contain live viruses, they present no risk of giving patients COVID-19.
  • The CDC recommends that even if you’ve previously had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated because reinfection is possible.
  • Even after someone has been vaccinated, it’s still important to wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing.

In a recent Healthline article, Dr. Colleen Kelley, an associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, explains, “’We are not in a zero risk situation and a few things need to happen before we get down to even a minimal risk situation.’ Those things include getting most of the population vaccinated and getting community transmission of COVID-19 under control.”

The vaccine does offer important peace of mind for our residents and their family members, especially as we continue indoor visits. While masks and social distancing are required, we now have the added protection of the vaccine for our residents as well. As we transition to the next phase in this pandemic, we look forward to offering peer social engagement activities among residents who’ve all been vaccinated. For now, though, and until more of the population is vaccinated and community transmission goes down, we will to continue to follow essential health protocols at the Witherell.



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