Drive for 75: Resources from Week 5

Workforce | April 01, 2021 | by Dee Pekruhn

LeadingAge Coronavirus Update Calls will feature brief segments called “Drive for 75” to promote the successful vaccination of at least 75% of our aging services providers’ workforce, and as needed, residents, by June 30. We will cover developments in the news, research, and innovative practices that support our members in attaining high vaccination rates.

This Week’s Highlights:

· Volume Twelve: Air Date 3.29.21: “Rethinking the Vaccination Experience”

In a recent article, Harvard Business Review challenges us to think about addressing vaccine hesitancy from a customer experience perspective, and the vaccine as a “consumer product.” To make the “vaccination experience” as comfortable and – yes, enjoyable – as possible, HBR offers these ideas: offer easy access – make it convenient to go; minimize waiting times; provide extra time and attention to those who need it. designate special time slots for high-needs people; encourage vaccinators to give accolades to people who get the shot; set reasonable expectations for “the day after” and recovery; give folks a clinician to call for follow up; encourage vaccinated people to share the good news on social media; follow up by asking, “Would you recommend this to a friend or loved one?” This ACIP COVID Vaccine Myths or Facts handout can also be a great resource to share with people who are hesitant about the vaccine.

· Volume Thirteen: Air Date 3.31.21: “Understanding the Variants, Part 1”

As we seek to help more people feel comfortable taking a vaccine for COVID-19, a concern is that they will provide little protection against emerging variants of the virus. Penn State biologist David Kenned explained that one reason SARS-CoV-2 is producing variants and will continue to do so is because relatively few people globally have been vaccinated. To date, at least 6 variants and additional mutations have been identified worldwide. There is concern that some of these variants may spread more quickly and may cause worse sickness. As of yesterday, there were more than 11,000 reported cases of the UK variant, 312 cases of the South African variant, and 172 cases of the Brazil variant. So, even though these numbers are likely under-reported, they are not very prevalent in the US at this time. It is important to note that the more quickly we can get more people vaccinated, the more difficult it is for the virus to circulate and mutate.

· Volume Fourteen: Air Date 4.1.21: “Understanding the Variants, Part 2”

Of the three major variants circulating in this country, current vaccines seem to be quite effective against the UK variant. For the Brazil variant, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines seem effective. There is not sufficient data yet on the J & J vaccine and the Brazil variant. Vaccines seem to show somewhat less efficacy against the South African variant. mRNA and viral vector vaccines can be modified to target the specific variant and the companies are setting up clinical trials of multi-valent vaccines in case they are needed as boosters or initial vaccines. Studies to date indicate that all of the vaccines confer some protection against serious illness in all of the known variants – important information as we talk with people about getting the vaccines.

In addition, T cells appear to play an important, additionally protective role. “Our data, as well as the results from other groups, shows that the T cell response to COVID-19 in individuals infected with the initial viral variants appears to fully recognize the major new variants identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil,” said Andrew Redd of the NIAID and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the study.