At our Avista Senior Living communities, we believe that kindness counts, and we always make an extra effort to provide exceptional care to our residents. During the past year, our staff has exemplified this effort through their dedication to service and care. Our communities have taken additional precautions every step of the way to try to protect our staff and residents from the effects of the COVID-19 virus. From social distancing to increased sanitization, protective equipment, and health screenings, our incredible staff has gone above and beyond to keep our communities safe.
Now that the vaccine is available, we are excited to offer further protection in our communities. We have partnered with pharmacies to help make the COVID-19 vaccine available to our residents and staff. We are excited that some of our communities have effectively vaccinated more than 90% of staff and/or residents. We understand that some of you may still have concerns about getting the vaccine. We encourage you to listen to this message by Avista Senior Living Founder and CEO, Kris Woolley. This past year, we have worked together to help keep each other safe. Now we need the help of every resident and staff member to continue that effort.
Good afternoon and greetings to my friends at Avista Senior Living, Spring Gardens, the Summit at Sunland Springs, and Terra Pointe Memory Care.
I just want to take a minute or two this afternoon to talk to you about a very serious and important topic: the vaccine that has been rolling out across the country and now is rolling out into senior living communities, including our portfolio of communities.
I want to congratulate and commend those of you who have already received Phase 1 of the vaccine. At most of our communities at this point, we’ve seen an overwhelming, positive response to participation in the vaccine among our residents – in some cases well over 90%. We’ve also seen a similarly high participation rate with some of our staff members – also in the 90+ percentage rate. I want to thank you and congratulate you. There are, however, others of our communities that have not seen staff participation rates that high and I want to speak to you today a little bit about that.
Some of you may have concerns about this vaccine, and I totally empathize with that. In fact, early on, I had concerns as well. I’ve done some homework, I’ve done some research, and I would encourage you if you haven’t yet to do that as well. As I looked further into the materials available and the source documents that were submitted to the FDA by Pfizer and Moderna, one thing that stood out unquestionably to me as I looked at these materials is that this vaccine is very effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 to the recipients of the vaccine.
As you see in the graph, the vaccine was able to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by 95+ percent to the recipients of the vaccine in the clinical trial, while those that received a placebo version of the vaccine – and not the vaccine itself – continued to contract the virus in ever-increasing percentages over time.
I want to commend our wonderful team and the professionals from the pharmacy who administered the vaccine clinic at our Sun City West community last week that I attended. The experience was clean and professional and didn’t take a lot of time. The shot didn’t even hardly hurt! There was minimal soreness in my left arm for a day or two afterward, but the short-term effects otherwise were nonexistent.
When I compare that with what the short term effects could be with the COVID-19 virus on me – or the long term effects – on me individually, or my loved ones, or society as a whole, to me it just tips the scales in a no-brainer way in favor of getting the vaccine.
In summary, I want to thank and acknowledge each of you for your part on the front lines caring for our residents, supporting our teams, and doing what we can as part of society to overcome and get through this pandemic.
I also acknowledge and empathize with the many real concerns that exist about the vaccine and would encourage you to continue to do your homework and research to better understand the risks and the benefits of the vaccine. I hope you will get to the same spot that I got to which is that the benefits and the rewards for doing this – personally, and as a company, and as a society – far outweigh the potential risk. I hope that you’ll get there and join me as we collectively do what we can at Avista Senior Living to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Thank you.