January 7, 2021

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the better part of 2020, the anticipation of a vaccine for COVID-19 was top-of-mind for all of us at The Buckingham. Residents, team members and their families have anxiously anticipated its arrival and the potential it brings for relief from the threat and reality of the virus and a return to a long-awaited normalcy.

This week, in partnership with Walgreen’s pharmacy, we administered the initial dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to 387 residents and team members community wide. The second required dose will be administered to residents and staff on Tuesday, Jan. 26.  We will also offer/administer the first dose to those now wanting/able to take the first dose.  Their second dose will be administered on February 16th. 

So far, we’re unaware of any significant side effects. Our leadership team continues to educate and encourage members of The Buckingham family who didn’t participate in the vaccination program this week to reconsider for later this month.

While the vaccine is hopefully the beginning of the final chapter in this saga, it’s not the end. Cases in Harris County remain high, and at The Buckingham we currently have 10 staff and 3 residents (2 from assisted living, 1 from independent living) who are COVID-positive.

Team members are self-isolating at their respective homes, and we’re optimistic the majority will soon enter the testing window to determine recovery. Two of the residents are quarantined in our dedicated COVID unit while the third remains hospitalized. We pray for their speedy recovery.

We’ve started to turn our thoughts to how and when we may be able to responsibly open our campus, but for now those are just initial discussions, and we are not making any changes operationally. Even though our vaccination program is underway, the second dose hasn’t been administered (some remain unvaccinated) and the potential remains for carriers to still be active.

That’s why we’re continuing regular testing of residents and team members, particularly those in The Plaza. Most importantly, we strongly encourage everyone to continue to adhere to basic mitigation efforts to protect themselves and their loved ones – masks in any public space, wash hands frequently, and maintain social distance from others.

As this update was being finalized, it was announced that the more contagious “British COVID-19” strain has been confirmed in Harris County.  Please keep this in mind…and please work hard to practice the proper mitigation steps identified above.  Harris County has been experiencing a rise in cases as it is and this new variant could further add to the numbers. 

Take care and stay well.

James Kneen,

Executive Director