December 2020

Residents, Staff and Families,

There have been a lot of questions, comments and concerns from residents, families, employees, and those in our communities about the COVID-19 Vaccine. This vaccine is important in saving lives and reducing the transmissions of the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively reviewing the COVID-19 vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization in the United States.  ABHM operates in six states and those states have told the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) they want nursing home/assisted living providers to be a priority.

ABHM’s mission is to create caring Christian communities that empower older adults, families, and people with disabilities and receiving this vaccine for our residents, members, and staff is a priority.  We, as an organization, support the federal vaccine effort for COVID-19.

It is important residents, members, staff, and families know that ABHM has registered, on behalf of all of our nursing homes, assisted living communities, and homes for the developmentally disabled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine that the federal government will be disbursing in the near future. Please note, this does include all of our employees working at all of our locations across ABHM.

Distribution of the vaccine has yet to be determined.

Individual states will decide how to roll this large initiative in the healthcare sector

We will use our ABHM website, each community’s website, Facebook pages, and other methods to communicate changes and updates as they occur.

ABHM has set up a designated email address to best respond to any questions, comments, or concerns specifically related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

It is our duty to stay focused on our residents, members, staff and loved ones during this time of uncertainty. All of us have been impacted by the pandemic but we will continue to persevere. We urge you to join us in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, influenza vaccine, wear masks, avoid large gatherings, and stay six feet apart-especially through the holidays.

Thank you for your understanding, kindness, and prayers for those we serve.

There will be more information related to the vaccine as it is released by the government.

Stay Safe!

Jeff Hongslo
ABHM President/CEO

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ABHM Covid-19 Vaccine Information Video

(Click image above to view video)

ABHM is very excited about the COVID-19 vaccine coming to our communities.

Each community will receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as each state sets up their own vaccination process.

Although ABHM is not requiring staff to get vaccinated, we strongly encourage all employees to get the vaccination. Not only to safeguard your own health but to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

We realize some individuals may be apprehensive about getting the vaccination and have questions on how the vaccine works as well as side effects. Here is a link to a video message from Dr. Sing Palat, MD addressing some of the concerns regarding the vaccine.

Sing Palat, MD, is an internist and geriatrician of 14 years and is a certified medical director.  As an associate of LTC Rehab Consultants, she provides care in nursing facilities and currently collaborates with Mountain Vista medical director Dr. Reza Esfahani on the COVID-19 response.   Dr. Palat is on the Board of CMDA The Colorado Society of Post-acute and Long-term Care.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to email us at



Update 2-5-21

It is an exciting and uncertain time now that many of us have received our first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are many questions regarding what this means for American Baptist Homes of the Midwest’s (ABHM’s) residents, families, and staff. With the vaccination rolling out to our residents and staff, we are entering a promising new phase in ending this pandemic.

How COVID-19 response will change after vaccination:

Vaccines are powerful tools in the fight against COVID-19. We hope to see enough people vaccinated to greatly reduce the COVID-19 disease. Until that happens, everyone who has received one or both vaccine doses must continue to carry out the same preventive measures in the community as they did before vaccination. We will continue to encourage mask wearing, social distancing, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, stay away from others when not feeling well and ALWAYS wash your hands.

Why infection control measures cannot change as soon as people are vaccinated:

Before the CDC or health department’s recommendations can change, we need to learn more about the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide after a full vaccine series is completed. We do not know if, or the rate at which, people may still get infected after they are vaccinated, or if they can spread the virus without feeling sick or having symptoms. Because not all members of the community have had COVID-19 or been vaccinated, many residents and health care workers may still be at risk for infection. Until we know that vaccinated health care workers and residents cannot spread the virus to others, the following measures should be followed.

Do I still isolate or quarantine?

At this point, isolation and quarantine recommendations for health care workers and residents have not changed, even if the person has received one or two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. This includes quarantine for health care workers and residents after an exposure, and residents after admission to the facility.

Do I have to wear a face mask?

Until more data is collected and the CDC updates its guidance, all health care workers and residents must continue to take the same preventive measures they did prior to vaccination (i.e., wearing a mask in the community, social distancing, hand hygiene). These measures are intended to protect others as well as yourself. ABHM Staff must continue to follow current state and federal guidelines for use of personal protective equipment when working.

If I had my vaccine do I still need to test?

Testing will continue as currently recommended by state or federal guidelines, regardless of vaccination status for individual residents or health care workers.

➢Test all residents and health care workers with symptoms.

➢Continue routine testing of health care workers at the frequency dictated by the percentage of people in the county who test positive for the virus among those who have been tested overall (positivity rate).

➢Perform outbreak testing when a new COVID-19 infection is found in a resident or health care worker to help stop the spread.

Will I still be screened for COVID-19?

Screening residents, health care workers, and visitors for signs and symptoms of illness will continue after vaccination. There have been no changes to recommendations for screening for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in health care facilities.

Will visitation still be restricted or limited?

Visitation with friends and family is very important. We are hopeful that the local, state and federal health departments, as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decrease the restriction and change the guidance around visitation.

Remember to encourage everyone to get vaccinated!

Please feel free to contact the administrator and/or ABHM at




Update 12-18-20:

We are preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine and details are rapidly developing. Please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) flyer for more information about the vaccine. Our entire campus is registered for the vaccine. This includes our independent living (IL), assisted living (AL) residents and all of our employees. The South Dakota Department of Health has set forth the following prioritization schedule for the vaccine.

Phase I

Frontline healthcare workers
• Working in Intensive Care Units, Emergency Departments, COVID units
• Long-term care
• Nursing home staff
• Assisted living staff
• Residents

Other healthcare workers

Phase II
General population

Trail Ridge Employees:

Trail Ridge employees will need to go to a vaccine “hub” for the vaccination. More details on where and when will be forthcoming.

What to expect:

Specific sign up time to attend clinic, social distanced clinic, eligibility screening, receive your vaccination, and take part in a 15-minute safety observation following your vaccination. Each individual will be given a vaccination card with the type of vaccination given. The same type of vaccination is required for the second dose.

Trail Ridge Residents:

Sanford Health will vaccinate residents at Trail Ridge. Dates and processes are still to be determined. Three total clinics will be held at Trail Ridge to administer both doses of vaccine for the residents. Staff will be vaccinated before residents at a definitive vaccination hub – not at Trail Ridge.

Vaccine Information:

Pfizer Vaccine: 
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use on December 11th, 2020
2 doses given 21 days apart

Moderna Vaccine:
Expected FDA Emergency Use Approval December 17th, 2020
2 doses given 28 days apart

ABHM has set up a designated email address to best respond to any questions, comments, or concerns specifically related to the COVID-19 vaccine.



COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Is the vaccine safe?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC)] review vaccine safety data. For COVID-19, ACIP has formed a separate Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) to provide timely evaluation of vaccine safety, both pre- and post-licensure.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is adding further monitoring programs to health care workers to analyze results six weeks after vaccination. Long-term Care is required to report all vaccinations through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Most adverse side effects occur within six weeks of vaccine administration, and the FDA has required eight weeks of safety monitoring so it can track any side effects. FDA advises a minimum of 3,000 participants to assess safety. The current phase 3 trials have 30,000 to 50,000 participants. This really demonstrates how safety is a top priority for the FDA and the medical community.

Is ABHM requiring employees and their residents to take the vaccine?

Staff and residents are not required to take the vaccine.

Will personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines be relaxed if the staff, residents and members are vaccinated?

Until ABHM knows the effectiveness of the vaccine, PPE guidelines will not be relaxed.

Is the vaccine one dose or a series?

The two initial vaccines projected for release are two-dose series vaccines and are not interchangeable. It’s important you schedule your second dose while getting your first dose because your booster must be from the same manufacturer.

Why can’t I have the vaccine now when others are receiving it?

At this time, there is not enough vaccine for everyone requesting it. Our state health departments are working with Walgreens or CVS to distribute the vaccine to those most at risk, including those living in long-term care facilities. The best way to prevent COVID-19 is by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently.

If I already contracted COVID-19, do I need a vaccination?

ABHM is recommending all residents and employees get the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. According to the CDC, there is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed for a better understanding.

Does insurance cover the vaccine?

Private health insurance companies, as well as government insurance programs like Medicare, will cover the vaccination cost. You will need to have your insurance information when getting your vaccine.



COVID-19 Vaccine: Is It for You?

Travis LaCore, PharmD, BCGP, NREMT, FF2. ABHM Subject Matter Expert of Pharmacy

A COVID-19 vaccine has the potential to bring the pandemic to an end at a greater speed than any other intervention available. Vaccination will provide protection to an individual and reduce the chances of spreading as more people get the vaccine.

Despite the potential benefit of the COVID-19 vaccine to drastically reducing the spread of infection, there remains a high level of apprehension among the public regarding the safety of the vaccine. Although the development of a COVID-19 vaccine has been rapid, the research and development on a coronavirus vaccine is not new, nor are the methods used to produce the vaccine. The vaccine approval process also remains fundamentally unchanged and must include strong evidence of vaccine safety and effectiveness. Research and development of coronavirus vaccines date as far back to 2002 and 2012, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak of 2002, and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak of 2012. Researchers’ directed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine utilizing the prior research on these outbreaks. One type of vaccine being developed, the mRNA vaccine, is a type of vaccine that has not been used in the US vaccine market previously, however it has been researched for decades in other areas such as cancer treatments.

The Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a 2-dose series, with an estimated effectiveness rate of 95% at 28 days after the initial dose. The most common adverse reactions reported were injection site reaction, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever, which are common reactions with any vaccine.

The next COVID-19 vaccine to be considered for an FDA EUA is the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which is scheduled to be reviewed by the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on December 17, 2020.

For questions and concerns about the vaccines, please contact your health care provider.

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