Friends, families and supporters:
Today, 55 people in the JFGH family will receive their second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. And, in a week from today, an additional approximately 185 will receive their second doses. Each day brings us closer to being fully inoculated, at least within JFGH, and I confess our optimism, however guarded, is growing. Many of you have e-mailed and called with questions on what vaccination means for people we support and for our return to some semblance of normal. Check out our COVID-19 Vaccination Questions & Answers on our website for more detail, but here are some important answers to those questions.
We have already begun writing updated protocols that will govern re-opening services and easing current restrictions. This includes developing plans for our MOST™ supports in both Maryland and Virginia, as well as addressing visits to all of our locations, including JFGH group homes.
- For these purposes, JFGH defines fully vaccinated as both doses of the vaccine and a period of four (4) weeks after the second dose for the body to fully develop antibodies/immunity. This time period is taken from current science and research. We are aware of a wide range of timeframes offered in the scientific literature, from as few as seven days to as long as six weeks. We will use four weeks.
- We note that while people receiving JFGH supports and our staff will be fully vaccinated, the overwhelming majority of others across the broader community won’t have even received their first vaccine dose for what is likely to be weeks and months. As a practical matter, this means we will not immediately return to ‘business as usual,’ and will continue to take a conservative approach to mitigating exposure risks.
- As it stands now, we believe that approximately 80% of the community having been fully vaccinated is necessary for a return to unrestricted activity and anything resembling our ‘old normal.’ We will continue in the meanwhile, for example, to emphasize the need for appropriate masking, hand hygiene and physical distancing, as well as very carefully assessing the places we visit for safety protocols that address crowds/groups, their vaccination requirements, and the like.
We remain focused and vigilant. While we’re a whole lot closer today to emerging from what has been an extraordinarily challenging year, we simply must stay alert. We have begun conversations with our day service and support partners to make certain we understand their re-opening protocols and present them to people we support in order to inform their decisions on returning. We are working closely as well with our government partners in both Maryland and Virginia in order to understand expectations of and resources for people receiving supports as they and we all turn toward a return to a new normal.
We will, as ever, update people we support, their families and our community as we learn and do more.
Please do check out our events calendar for information about some fun upcoming activities. Spoiler: MCLive is back, virtual and better than ever! And don't forget to join us next Thursday for our Facebook Live update at 10:00am.
Thank you—ALL of you—for your unwavering support of JFGH, our staff and the people we support. It has meant and continues to mean so much to all of us. We are beneficiaries of your good wishes, your incredible energy and your commitment to our work.