Dear Families and Friends of VNA Health,
ONWARD TO ORANGE! On April 13th our Public Health Department (PHD) announced that Santa Barbara County is one step closer to the Orange Tier. SB County is currently in the Red Tier, but if we can meet the Orange Tier Criteria for another week, then we may officially move into the less restrictive Orange Tier as early as April 21st.
One way we can all help Santa Barbara County move into the Orange Tier is to GET VACCINATED. All Californians ages 16+ years are now eligible for the COVID19 Vaccine. The PHD has COVID19 Vaccine Clinics available in Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Santa Maria. Appointments are required, and parents or legal guardians for minors aged 16-17 getting vaccinated, must come to the vaccination appointment with their teenager. To make an appointment you may call 2-1-1 and select option 4 or go online to https://publichealthsbc.org/phd-vaccination-clinics/.
OTHER WAYS TO GET THE COVID19 VACCINATION: 1) Contact your physician 2) Make an appointment at a local pharmacy (CVS, Costco, RiteAid or Walgreens) or 3) Walk into your local pharmacy and try to catch a cancelled or missed appointment.
FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE* CAN:
- Spend time with other fully vaccinated people, including indoors, without wearing masks or physical distancing.
- Spend time with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
* People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID19: two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ).
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COVID19 VACCINES
LOOKING AHEAD: Assuming hospitalization rates throughout the State of California remain stable and low, the next step in our State’s Pandemic Recovery is to fully reopen our economy on June 15th. When California fully reopens, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy will end. This means that everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense health measures such as masking will remain. Testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings.
In order to take the next step, VNA Health continues to do our part to keep this momentum moving in the right direction by maintaining our SAFETY FIRST protocols.
- We continue to communicate and work closely with State and County Public Health officials to adapt to the changing COVID environment and regulatory guidelines. This includes working closely with healthcare partners like hospitals, clinics, physician offices, skilled nursing facilities, and residential care facilities to ensure smooth transitions of care for you across the healthcare continuum.
- Our clinical staff are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including N-95 masks at all patient visits. We also reduce in-person contact when appropriate by using remote communication tools like Zoom to provide music therapy, palliative care, bereavement care, and medical social services.
- We continue to provide regular surveillance testing of our staff and screen all persons at our facilities for temperature and symptoms prior to entry. We follow rigorous social distancing and cleaning protocols in all of our facilities.
- While many of our frontline healthcare workers have been vaccinated, we will continue to wear PPE and test our staff regularly to ensure your safety.
- We provide all of our staff and volunteers with COVID updates and safety training to ensure staff who enter your home are knowledgeable about COVID risks and understand what they must do to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Please know that your VNA Health team is committed to remaining aware, prepared, and ready to respond to ensure we can provide you with compassionate and trusted care through any adversity.
Onward & Live Well!
Lynda Tanner, RN, MSN
President & CEO
ABOUT THE COVID19 VACCINES
WHAT COVID19 VACCINES ARE APPROVED IN THE UNITED STATES?
As of March 1, 2021, there are three vaccines with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) commonly known as Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. Below is a comparison table identifying the Strategy, Efficacy, Dosage, and Side Effects of each vaccine. Learn more about the vaccines from the CDC.
IS THE COVID19 VACCINE SAFE?
First, it is important to know that the COVID19 vaccines do not cause the disease COVID19. The goal of the vaccines is to teach our immune system how to fight the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID19. The three vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization for only adults and older teens (not children) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA’s high safety standards are globally recognized, and the safety of COVID19 vaccines will continually be monitored to ensure even very rare side effects are identified.
HOW DO THE COVID19 VACCINES WORK?
Think of your immune system like an Emergency Preparedness Plan: BE AWARE, BE PREPARED, BE READY. Vaccines work with your immune system by making your body aware and prepared for the potential virus so that your body will be ready to fight the virus if exposed. It does this by prompting an immune response to a part of the virus – a specific protein code on the spikes of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine prepares your body to build its own arsenal of germ fighting white blood cells called B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes. Once your own white blood cells defeat the vaccine-specific protein code, your body remains prepared by keeping a “memory” supply of these particular B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes, so that if you become exposed to the real virus, your body is ready to fight.
You should know that sometimes, after vaccination, the process of building the immune response can cause symptoms, such as pain at the injection site and fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Also, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. So, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID19 just before or just after vaccination, and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.
DO I STILL HAVE TO WEAR A MASK AFTER I GET VACCINATED?
YES you still need to WEAR A MASK even after being vaccinated. And, YES you should continue to practice SAFETY FIRST. This means continue to WASH YOUR HANDS and WATCH YOUR 6-FEET SOCIAL DISTANCING. Why? Because the COVID19 vaccines are just one tool in our arsenal against the spread of this virus. TOGETHER, getting the vaccine and maintaining basic safety precautions offer the best protection; and will help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.