An update from Sue Coppola, Chief Clinical Officer, regarding the latest developments in Sunrise's COVID-19 response
Dear Sunrise Residents and Families:
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. And, while we are so grateful that vaccines have arrived, we know there is still a steep hill to climb to reach the other side of this global health crisis, which means we need to continue to embrace today’s reality focused on masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene. Importantly, we are making good progress in our fight against the virus, and our commitment to our residents and their safety and wellness endures no matter what challenges we may face.
Today, we’re pleased to share that the first dose of the vaccine has been made available to 100 percent of Sunrise communities in the U.S., and the majority of our communities will have completed their second clinic in the coming days and weeks. Both Pfizer and Moderna report that their vaccines show approximately 95 percent efficacy at preventing both mild and severe symptoms of the virus. If your loved one has been vaccinated, we hope you are able to find some comfort in this additional protection from COVID-19.
Although the efficacy rates of these vaccines give great hope by protecting the individuals who receive them, the CDC and public health officials have yet to rule out whether the virus can still be transmitted by vaccinated individuals. This is one of the main reasons why we will remain vigilant in the fight against the virus, including wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, and continuing to follow other enhanced infection control measures. We are actively discussing opportunities we may have to further support our residents and families during this time, and awaiting new guidance from the CDC and other public health authorities, specifically on long term care settings. We expect to share more information shortly. In the interim, we will maintain our current visitation guidelines and Resumption of Operations plans, as well as our efforts to fight COVID-19, including screening and testing, regardless of vaccination rates.
If you have not already, you will soon begin receiving updates from your community regarding vaccination rates for both residents and team members, once everyone has had the opportunity to complete the vaccine series during our community clinics. I’m sure you understand that we will not be able to provide personal information regarding those who have or have not received the vaccine. We will continue to work to increase our vaccination rates to help keep our communities safe. In addition to providing vaccination education and support, we are also expressing appreciation to all team members who become inoculated with a “Day of Gratitude.” We are excited about the FDA’s emergency use authorization of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the implications this has for increasing vaccine supply to allow for more people to have the opportunity to be vaccinated. We’re monitoring the evolving details of the distribution process as we evaluate when to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment, and we continue to encourage team members and residents who are not yet vaccinated to take any of the vaccines available to them.
We know that these remain trying times for you and your family, but we hope that you see the positive impact of our team as we work to create as much normalcy as possible and support your loved one with personalized care and engagement. There is not a day that goes by in which I do not pause to thank our courageous frontline team members who have used their training, experience, and compassion for our residents to protect and care for them—all while supporting their own families—during this evolving pandemic. We are striving to provide a safe, warm, and engaging home for your loved one, and we appreciate your ongoing understanding and patience.
Chief Clinical Officer
Sunrise Senior Living