The Transylvania Times -

Unified Response Needed To Defeat COVID-19 Pandemic

Guest Column


Last updated 1/11/2021 at 3:14pm

Tore receives the vaccine last week.

As of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, all residents and staff who have agreed to be vaccinated at Tore's Home, Inc., along with our home care clients, have been given the vaccine.

This is truly a milestone in the fight against COVID-19 and offers great hope that we are taking one giant step toward getting back to "normal." Depending on the guidelines from the CDC, the hope is that we can soon relax the visitation protocol so that our residents and their families can resume pre-COVID visitation procedures with friends and families as soon as possible.

Tore's Home wants to extend a deep appreciation to Keystone/Wolfe lab who has provided us with weekly testing of both residents and staff since the end of June of 2020. Keystone/Wolfe has collected the specimens in our facilities, taken care of all insurance billing to both insurance companies and billed the CARES Act for those who qualify, provided us with a portal so we can check on our own test results and provided great advice through their medical director. Being able to provide weekly testing at no cost to Tore's Home has played a crucial role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic thus far.

However, weekly testing is not a guarantee that outbreaks will not happen. We believe that individuals, organizations of various kinds and long-term care facilities can do everything right and still have outbreaks.

We also want to extend a great appreciation to Henderson County Health Department along with Transylvania County Health Department for their support with testing, infection control guidance and moral support. We are afraid to mention any names in case we forget to include somebody, but we believe the effort has truly been a group effort by all people and organizations involved in long-term care.

Although the vaccine is an important step in combating COVID-19, we are not finished fighting this virus yet. There are large numbers of people who are not willing to take the vaccine when offered, which is a great concern. If we do not have at least 70 percent or more of the population, as stipulated by the CDC, willing to be vaccinated, we will continue to have problems. Therefore, it is very important that as many as possible will advocate for being vaccinated.

Following is a quote from the medical director, Dr. Owensby at Keystone/Wolfe lab, that gives a good description of how the vaccine is working and what needs to be done after the vaccine is given:

"There are several approved vaccines and vaccine candidates: Two in the U.S. and two in Great Britain (maybe three now). There are at least three more in phase three trials.

"None of the vaccines contain any live virus, nor did they ever contain any live virus.

"The vaccines are mRNA vaccines. These are bits of protein that when they enter a normal cell, cause that cell to make specific pieces of the COVID-19 virus that are unable to replicate or infect by themselves, but can generate an immune response to normal COVID-19 virus.

"Yes, the vaccines will induce antibody production against the COVID-19 virus, generally within 10-14 days of administration of the vaccine. Depending upon which vaccine is used, about 52 – 80 percent of people vaccinated will develop detectable antibodies after the first dose, and about 95 percent after a second dose generally given 3-4 weeks after the first. That does leave about 1 in 20 persons who might not develop immunity after the vaccinations, and this would be a good reason for antibody testing after vaccination for those most vulnerable (taken at least two weeks after the second vaccination dose) so those persons can be identified and protected. I'd recommend antibody testing after vaccination for those caring for the vulnerable populations as well, and restrict those who do not show antibodies to non-vulnerable clients."

(Borhaug is the president and owner of Tore's Home, Inc.)


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