Happy New Year: The COVID Vaccine’s Come to Skylark!

Welcome to 2021.  Finally, we have great news.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Georgia!  In mid-December the first Skylark Associates received their first dose of the vaccine as health care workers with no side effects beyond a sore shoulder at the vaccine site. 

The good news continues: Governor Kemp has expanded the first round of eligibility for the vaccine to all those 65 and older and their caregivers (Ga. governor announces expansion of COVID vaccine distribution | 11alive.com).  The information is a bit confusing because Georgia guidance for vaccination differs from CDC guidance.  All individuals over the age of 65 are now in the 1a group for vaccination.

While the administration of the vaccine has been slower than we would like, vaccination rates are increasing.  You can see the progress Georgia is making at COVID Vaccine | Georgia Department of Public Health

The increasing vaccination rate is great news for Skylark as we are working with our county public health departments to accelerate vaccination for our Members, their caregivers, and our Associates.  In Cobb we are working with the Cobb-Douglas Public Health Department to provide vaccination to our Members and our Associates in the Cobb center.  This will be for active members and associates only.  We expect the vaccinations to occur in the next week or two.  Expect a call from Skylark to arrange for the completion of all required documentation for vaccination. 

In Forsyth, we are currently scheduling vaccinations for our associates.  We will be working with Forsyth to include vaccination for our Members as we’re able. 

Keep an eye open for vaccination news.  Our contacts inform us that they are in the process of setting up drive through vaccination clinics.  Some of these have already been set up for health care personnel.  They tell us more will be coming. 

If you have the opportunity to get the vaccine, get it as soon as possible.  Based on feedback from some families who have gotten their first vaccine already, scheduling opens up early Saturday morning for the following week (this tip is likely to change as the vaccination process is quickly improving).  

You should be able to find additional vaccine information as well as scheduling tools on the local public health web sites.  For those working or residing in:

My Publix pharmacist thought they would be getting the vaccine. She also suggested contacting my primary care physician.  I have family and friends who have searched Google to get an appointment.

In most of these cases, appointments are available as the vaccine becomes available.  Pfizer and Moderna continue to ship vaccine, so you may need to keep checking the sites for appointment availability.

Since the Departments of Public Health have been willing to work with us with the vaccination process, we are hopeful that we’ll be able to get all our Members and Associates fully vaccinated by the end of March.

  • I’m working with Fran on enrolling in the Center and Home Care?  Can my loved one receive the vaccine through Skylark? 
  • I’ve been on hold since the pandemic closed the center in March 2020.  Can my loved one receive the vaccine through Skylark?

You’ll likely need to be an active Member of a center. So far, the health departments have only been willing to work with actively enrolled Members in the Cobb center.  Please keep in touch with Fran (fweigard@skylarkseniorcare.com), Carolanne (cwright@skylarkseniorcare.com), or Joseph (jbendor@skylarkseniorcare.com).   All active, prospective, and on hold members over the age of 65 and their caregivers are absolutely eligible for the vaccine.  

Definitely let us know if your interested (and perhaps ready to start or restart back at the center).  We’ll keep working and advocating for the vaccinations with the correct departments.  Generally, the departments are looking for opportunities to provide vaccinations, and they don’t provide much notice when the opportunity arises.

What about the current surge?

The numbers remain high; although, much of the current surge appears to be in younger individuals.  Families seem to be doing a pretty good job of protecting their older family members. 

As the vaccines are administered, fewer older adults, who have experienced the most severe effects of the coronavirus, should experience the coronavirus.  There should be quick, dramatic decline in coronavirus cases in that age group specifically and especially in hospitalizations.  It appears some of the new therapeutics such as the monoclonal antibodies from Regeneron and Eli Lilly have now being distributed widely enough to reduce the need for hospitalization.

These predictions depend on vaccine and therapeutics distribution and administration increasing dramatically.  There has been a lot of attention brought to this issue; it’s hard to imagine that vaccine administration won’t scale up rapidly in the coming days and weeks.

What does this mean for our family?

Now that all older adults over the age of 65 and their caregivers are authorized to receive the vaccine, it’s likely that Members who desire to return to the center and still qualify will be able to do so in the next few months. 

We’ll help identify vaccination opportunities to make this happen.  We’ll also start reaching out to begin reassessments and understanding family plans.

What should you expect from Skylark? 

We continue to be your premier Home Care and Adult Day provider and your safety and health are our top priority.  Since reopening in September, we’ve started many new members and welcomed back existing members to the centers.  The Seniors are very happy to return, and we’re seeing great results.  In some cases, we’ve seen the physical and cognitive decline of the pandemic reversed with increased social engagement, exercise, and nursing care.  Our Johns Creek center is now fully open, and the Cobb center is open additional days.

We expect great changes coming quickly in the coming months.   We’ll work hard to continue earning your confidence in us.

  1. Our Associates are being vaccinated as quickly as we can schedule them. We will require vaccination to the extent that we’re legally allowed to.
  2. We’re learning about the vaccination process for our members. We’ll share this information as we get it.  We’re going to want to see as many members vaccinated as possible in order to keep our centers safe.
  3. We promise to stay in close contact over the coming weeks and months. We know you have concerns and questions about different programs including vaccinations, testing, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration. 

We’re going to add one more step to our safety and infection control protocols:

  1. Vaccinations: work with Members and Associates to get everyone vaccinated quickly.
  2. Keep the coronavirus out: For home care and adult day center, we work to avoid the virus by checking temperatures, utilizing screening questions, using appropriate PPE, and limiting visitors.
  3. Masks and Social Distancing: Whether in the home or in the center, we’ll continue using masks and implementing social distancing. Our members and associates have been doing a great job keeping the masks.
  4. Synexis Bio-Defense System: This system helps to automate our cleaning program and attacks surfaces and air. We think this will form a key part of our infection control program even after the coronavirus pandemic.

We’re looking forward to seeing you back in the center.  2021 is going to be a great year.

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