Steps to Prepare for COVID-19 Immunizations

Community Living BC (CLBC) reached out to CVS earlier this week to highlight steps they are taking to inform the Provincial Health Officer of the needs of our community. They highlighted that licensed group home will be among the first in our sector for vaccinations in Phase 2, from February to March. You can read information about B.C.’s immunization plan here.

While the information in this message is focused on preparing for vaccinations in group homes, it will be of help to all service providers, including those who support individuals in home sharing or supported living who will receive vaccinations in upcoming phases.

Since CVS does not have any group homes (but manages Shared Living facilities instead), the majority of individuals we serve will fall under Phase 3 of the roll out.

Plain language Information about vaccines

The best place to find information about the vaccines is on the web site of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control here.

Community Living BC has also created a web page for vaccinations here.

Click here for two excellent plain language resources: Things to Know About the COVID vaccine, and What happens when I get the COVID vaccine.

Information about consents

Most service providers should already be familiar with the consent process, as this is a requirement for annual and periodic vaccinations and other healthcare decisions.

To provide a reminder of this process, please visit the Public Guardian and Trustee web site that has FAQs on informed consent here. This website has important information about who has authority to provide consent for a vaccine if a person is deemed incapable of providing consent.

Most supported individuals will be capable of providing consent. According to the PGT web site, if an adult is capable of making their own decision, there is no prescribed consent form and consent can be provided orally or in writing.

The site provides a link to an approved consent form that should be used to record a substitute consent for the COVID-19 vaccine for someone who needs support or is incapable of providing consent. This consent form is adequate to receive both doses of COVID vaccinations.

Other steps to prepare

Other steps operators of group homes may want to take to be ready include:

  • Confirming the number of supported individuals and group home staff who have consented to receive a vaccination.
  • Preparing a draft schedule for supported individuals and group home staff with vaccination times that are 15 minutes apart.
  • Identifying a room or location where vaccinations can be given.
  • Identifying additional priority staff and other individuals that could be on standby should there be unexpected availability of vaccine.

Please be patient and flexible

This is the largest and most complex immunization plan in British Columbia’s history. The Office of the Provincial Health Officer has told us that we should be prepared for some differences in process between the Health Authorities, depending on differing epidemiological factors in different regions. The challenges of the vaccine supply chain may also mean that in some situations, if there are leftover vaccines, some unplanned vaccinations may be offered in order not to waste supplies. Please remember everyone is doing their best, and we expect that as supplies stabilize and the Health Authorities develop their systems the process will continue to improve.

What about individuals who don’t live in a group homes?

According to BC’s immunization plan, individuals with developmental disabilities who live in other settings and are clinically vulnerable will be able to receive vaccinations in Phase 3 from April to June. We will share details as soon as we receive it from the Provincial Health Officer about who falls in this category and where they will be able to get their vaccinations.

CVS will continue to share information as it comes from the Provincial Health Officer and CLBC.