January 16, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Nursing Home Residents Need High Vaccine Priority

Teachers’ unions, police and firefighters argued in early December they ought to get the expected new coronavirus vaccines before anyone else but health workers.

They got a tough response at the federal Centers for Disease Control, now operating as it is supposed to for the first time since Donald Trump became president. Freed after the fall election of censorship by political operatives Trump stationed in its executive offices, the CDC let its vaccine advisory committee of top epidemiologists and ethics experts write the priority guidelines most states will follow in distributing still-scarce vaccines.

They very properly placed nursing home residents alongside medical personnel as the first recipients. But that’s not how California now says it will operate.

Yes, health workers will be the first Californians to get the vaccine. But not nursing home residents. This is a huge failing in the state’s plan for prioritizing inoculations against the plague that has killed almost 300,000 Americans – about one-third of them living in long term care.

Yes, just about everyone agrees front line medical responders need first crack at the two new vaccines entering national use.

Beyond that, things are murkier. People with underlying pre-existing medical conditions like suppressed immune systems and heart disease ought to go next, some academic ethicists said. Nope, said others, the vaccine should go first to the elderly, about 65 percent of the COVID-19 patient load.

Teachers, cops and firepeople should make up the second group, said their unions, teachers arguing that schools can only reopen widely after they get their shots.

This has some validity, but ignores the one group which fits into both the medical condition class and the elderly category: nursing home residents.

The proportion of disease victims and the degree of isolation among denizens of nursing homes has been staggering. Most have been deprived of virtually all direct contact with family and friends for the 9-month (so far) duration of anti-virus lockdown measures.

For some, this causes extreme disorientation and distress as they suffer diseases and death in isolation, notwithstanding a few ground-floor window sightings and the occasional outdoor visit.

The coronavirus has also taken more lives in nursing homes than anywhere else – about 40 percent of California deaths from the virus.

With each viral surge, the scene in nursing homes grows more grim. Especially in larger facilities catering mostly to Medi-Cal patients, who often turn their life savings over to government in order to qualify for financial aid.

During October and November, new COVID-19 cases in nursing homes surged fourfold in more than 20 states. Unlike most others, residents of the homes can’t do much about it.

They cannot avoid close contact with nursing home staffers, from nurses and other aides to administrators. Those staffers come and go daily, subject to the same contagions as the general public. That’s why even California’s plan gives them the same priority as other health workers.

Staffers serve meals to residents, help them bathe, assist them to sitting areas and to bathrooms. When they are infected, residents are, too. When caseloads outside the homes rise, they skyrocket on the inside.

What’s more, most residents are elderly. Few would live in skilled nursing facilities if they did not have some pre-existing condition also making them extra-susceptible to COVID-19.

Residents of the 14,000 facilities belonging to the American Health Care Assn. and the National Center for Assisted Living may be followed statistically more closely than people in other homes. It’s from them that we learn how caseloads among long term care residents rise faster and lead to many more deaths per capita than on the outside.

This all explains why the CDC committee had nursing home folks share top priority for the new vaccinations. They may be only subsets of the elderly and people with medical conditions, but they are the main reason statistics for those two classes are so cruel.

If the lives of people in the homes have value – and California’s newly-set priorities suggest some think they don’t – they must get the new shots before anyone other than front line medical workers.

But in California, it appears they won’t, and that is both inhumane and unfair.

in News
Related Posts

Edify TV: Overhaul for Canyon Property?

January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

A unique Santa Monica Canyon property may be getting an overhaul. Learn more in this video made possible by School...

Edify TV: The Westside’s Best Pies

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Here are some of the best pies on the Westside ahead of National Pie Day on January 23. Learn more...

City Council Votes Mayor Himmelrich And Team To Keep Council Positions: Santa Monica Beat – January, 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * City Council Votes Mayor Himmelrich And Team To Keep Council Positions...

65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 14, 2021 By Kerry Slater 65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down  A beloved...

Food Review: The Westside’s Insanely Delicious Tijuana Tacos

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Tacos 1986 in Westwood Village stands out amid a crowded taco scene By Kerry Slater In a city filled with...

Santa Monica Pier Closed for Five Days in a Row

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

City cites warm weather forecasted for Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro With temperatures reaching the 80s expected, city officials are...

Edify TV: Westside Kids Compete to Keep Beach Clean

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

Westside kids are competing to keep the beach clean! Learn more in this video made possible by Santa Monica College.

Santa Monica Fire Department Rolls Out Vaccinations

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

SMFD helps with rollout across county  By Chad Winthrop Beginning this month , Santa Monica Fire Department firefighters and paramedics...

SMC and MLK Westside Coalition’s 36th Annual Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

Mon, Jan 18, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Online Only at 9am on Jan. 18th – Visit: MLKjrWestside.org  The Rev. Dr....

Assemblymember Richard Bloom Announces Intention to Run for L.A. County Supervisor

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

State rep. looking to replace Sheila Kuehl in 2022 By Sam Catanzaro With incumbent Supervisor Sheila Kuehl signaling she won’t...

Man Jumps to Death at Santa Monica Place

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

Man jumps off parking structure in Monday suicide  By Sam Catanzaro A man died by suicide Monday after jumping off...

Santa Monica City Resumes Preferential Parking Restrictions: Santa Monica Beat – January, 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica City Resumes Preferential Parking Restrictions * La County Approves...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Pier Shut Down Weekends

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

Santa Monica Pier has been shut down on weekends temporarily as COVID-19 cases rise in Los Angeles. Learn more in this...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Bloomingdale’s Closing

January 10, 2021

January 10, 2021

Santa Monica’s Bloomingdale’s is set to shut down, adding to a sting of vacancies in the downtown Santa Monica area....