We strongly encourage all members of our community, residents and team members alike, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when available to you.

The news about the COVID-19 vaccines is incredibly positive—it’s the powerful tool we’ve been waiting for to stop the spread of the virus that has so profoundly disrupted our lives and our work. Mounting evidence after many millions of vaccinations demonstrates that it is very effective at preventing COVID-19 and is generally safe. (If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, it’s best to consult your health care provider.) New evidence suggests that it may help to reduce transmission of the coronavirus and confers at least some protection against emerging variants.  

Ongoing Vaccine Availability

BRC is an official vaccination site:  We administer the Moderna vaccine on-site for residents and team members, usually on Wednesdays. The Moderna vaccine is administered in two doses 28 days apart. This Wednesday, we administered 19 doses. 

Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for ages 12–15, we are working on our partners to obtain doses for use in our clinics.

      • Team members who would like to sign up or obtain more information should contact mjsaufley@brcliving.org. Future Independent Living and Assisted Living residents should contact your marketing counselor: Lisa Shickel at lshickel@brcliving.org or Jessica Covell at jcovell@brcliving.org
      • Future Nursing residents should discuss vaccine options as part of your admissions process with Jay McDowell jmcdowell@brcliving.org.
      • Team members who have been vaccinated somewhere other than at BRC should share that information with Human Resources, since sick leave policies for COVID-related time off work are different depending on vaccination status.

Unsure about receiving the vaccine? Augusta Health recently sat down with Dr. Clint Merrit to learn more about how the vaccine works, why it’s safe, and when you should receive it. 


Vaccinations at BRC On-site Clinics as of March 3

BRC held several mass-vaccination clinics between 12/30/2020 and 3/3/2021 in partnership with CVS during which the majority of BRC residents and team members received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

  # Vaccinated Total in Community % Vaccinated
*Nursing Residents 119 (112 current) 117 96%
Assisted Living Residents 48 50 96%
Memory Support Residents 14 16 88%
Independent Living Residents 331 351 94%
TOTAL BRC RESIDENTS 512 534 95%
Team Members 267 370 72%
**Others 48 NA NA
TOTAL PEOPLE VACCINATED 827    
*The total number of Nursing residents vaccinated includes seven individuals who no longer reside in BRC nursing households.
**”Others” includes direct care providers and key volunteers who work closely with residents on the BRC campus.


 

Vaccine Q&A

Why should I receive the vaccine?

There are so many reasons! Here are just a few:

  • It protects you, those you love, and those around you at work and at home. 
  • It’s the first step toward normalizing life at BRC and in our broader community. 
  • You will be a part of the solution to reducing the infection and positivity rates in our region.
  • BRC’s leave policy is changing: if you don’t get the vaccine and then have to be off work for a COVID-related reason, you will have to use personal sick leave or vacation time. If you don’t have enough time off accrued, you will not be paid.
  • Most team members are proud of the fact that BRC is a leader in senior living and provides the highest possible quality of life for our residents. Let’s lead by example and demonstrate that we continue to follow best practices for health and wellbeing.
How do we know it's safe?

Both the Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech were tested with exceptionally large numbers of people compared with what is required, and they were shown to be very safe.

  • The Pfizer vaccine trial included more than 40,000 people, and the Moderna included more than 25,000. The FDA advises a minimum of 3,000 participants in such a trial to assess safety, so that was greatly exceeded in both cases.
  • No one who received either vaccine developed severe COVID disease or died.
  • Both vaccines are based on messenger RNA (mRNA) which stimulates our bodies to build the antibodies needed to fight the virus. Neither contains either live or killed coronavirus particles, so they cannot give you COVID-19.
  • Both vaccines are based on previously developed vaccines that were very safe, so we know the ingredients are not harmful.
How do we know it works?

The Moderna vaccine achieved 94.1 % protection from having a COVID-19 infection; the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine achieved 94.5% efficacy. In both trials, this held for people of different ethnicities, races and ages.

What about the new variants?

Both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines seem to confer significant protection from the new strains (for some variants more than others) so it’s still better to get the vaccine.

It is likely that the best solution is to get the available vaccine and then boosters as they are developed. Moderna is already developing a booster to increase protection against variants.

What if I am pregnant or want to have children some day?

Although pregnancy and fertility were not directly studied in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials, no available evidence suggests the vaccine could affect future fertility. In fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the vast majority of physicians recommend getting the vaccine because getting COVID is a much higher risk to fertility and health than getting the vaccine.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Here are the side effects and what we know about them:

  • In both trials, there were NO severe adverse events.

  • Some people may have short-term discomfort: fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and pain at injection site after vaccination. These side effects mean your body is doing its job and making antibodies; this is a good thing even though it may not feel good. These side effects are normal, common and expected.

  • A very small percentage have had allergic reactions after getting the vaccine. That’s why the vaccination teams have epipens on hand, and why you are asked to wait for 15 minutes before leaving the clinic. If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, please consult your medical provider.

Is getting COVID-19 really all that bad?

While many people have asymptomatic or mild cases of COVID, the death rate from this disease is far higher than for the flu. More than 433,000 people in the U.S. have already died, of all ages and ethnicities. That’s more than four times the number of people in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg combined. Plus, even for those who recover there is evidence of potential long-term consequences that may negatively affect health for many years.

Are team members required to get the vaccine to continue working at BRC?

BRC is dedicated to the health and safety of all residents and team members. We strongly encourage all team members to receive the vaccination. Our leave policy will apply differently if you have not accepted the vaccine and then have to miss work for a COVID-related reason, and if you don’t have sick time or vacation accrued you will not be paid for that time off.

Will residents be required to receive the vaccine?

We have already been in touch with the POAs of our Nursing and Assisted Living residents, and almost all are eager to get vaccinated. Any residents who have medical or religious concerns about being vaccinated will meet with members of BRC’s clinical leadership to discuss.

Who will pay for the vaccinations?

BRC team members and residents will not incur any costs to receive the vaccine. The U.S. Government is paying for the vaccine itself. Insurance providers will be billed to cover the cost of the administration of the vaccines.

Will we continue with infection precaution measures and PPE after the vaccinations?

Yes, we will continue to follow best practices and guidance from the CDC, CMS, and VDH, and they all agree at this point that masks, social distancing, and our other protocols are still important to prevent transmission. But the more of us get vaccinated at BRC and in the broader community, the sooner the day will come when we can get back to normal.


Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control: Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines

Virginia Department of Health: COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Fact Sheet for Recipients