Published: January 11, 2021
Dear Bridgewell staff team:
Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and 2021 is off to a good start for you. I know 2020 was a very challenging year, but I am optimistic about our path ahead in 2021, particularly as the COVID-19 vaccines are now being rolled out. Today is an exciting day; individuals and staff in 19 of our residential programs will be getting the first dose of the highly effective COVID vaccine. Over the next few weeks, those in all other residential programs will be receiving the vaccine. This is a huge step forward in bringing this pandemic under control, and getting vaccinated when you’re eligible is so important to prevent getting sick with COVID-19 disease.
Many of you are on the front lines, working with individuals in our services and at risk being exposed to COVID-19 each day on the job. Your work is so important – and you are among the first group eligible to receive the vaccine because of your essential role in fighting this pandemic. At this point, direct care staff who work in our congregate care settings such as group homes are included in Phase 1 of the Massachusetts rollout plan, so they are eligible to be vaccinated in the coming weeks.
If you are eligible for Phase 1, I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated now. It will help protect you and the individuals you care for who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19. This is an opportunity for you to serve as a role model in our community, and by getting vaccinated first, you can positively influence your co-workers, friends, and family members to get vaccinated when they’re eligible. I look forward to my opportunity to get vaccinated when I am eligible, which will be in Phase 3 of the rollout plan.
To offer convenient access to the vaccine, we have partnered with Walgreens to provide on-site COVID-19 vaccination for individuals and staff, free of charge, who are eligible for vaccination in Phase 1. Details about these on-site vaccination clinics at our direct care locations will be shared in the coming days. Walgreens will be using the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine when providing vaccinations to our Phase 1 eligible staff.
I understand some of you who are eligible to get vaccinated in Phase 1 may be apprehensive about getting the vaccine so early in the rollout process. I encourage you to explore these resources posted on the CDC website to educate yourself about the vaccine: Vaccine Facts, and view this informative video: The Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines for Direct Support Professionals. Please also reach out to your primary care physician if you have specific questions or concerns about the vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines are key to helping bring an end to the pandemic, but some of us will have to wait a few more months to receive the vaccine. It is critical that all of us continue to follow the current guidance to protect ourselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least six feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing hands often. Even individuals and staff who are vaccinated will need to continue with these protective practices.
Thank you all for your ongoing efforts to keep individuals in our programs and your co-workers safe and healthy.
President and CEO