April 11, 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

Santa Monica Lawmakers to Consider Banning Certain Items at Protests

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

City Council to take up emergency ordinance next week  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica lawmakers will consider banning certain items...

Foster Youth Staffed Cafe Set to Open on Montana Avenue

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

La La Land Kind Cafe to open in former Starbucks space  By Toi Creel  A Texas-based cafe that makes an...

Santa Monica Place Getting New Rooftop Restaurant

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

LOULOU opening soon at Santa Monica Place By Toi Creel Santa Monica Place is getting a new rooftop restaurant from...

Food Review: An Almost-Essential Westside Sandwich

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

Johnnie’s french dip pastrami sandwich in Culver City  By Kerry Slater  While there are far better sandwiches in Los Angeles,...

Edify TV: Brentwood Encampment Reacts to Veteran Homicide

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

Last weekend a homeless veteran, just a week away from entering permanent supportive housing, was killed in a vehicular assault....

Knife-Brandishing Suspect in Custody

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

Santa Monica police take suspect into custody following Wednesday morning altercation By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica police took a knife-brandishing...

Crowds at Santa Monica Pier Force Temporary Closure: Santa Monica Beat – April, 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * 4.0 Earthquake Shakes the Santa Monica * Crowds at Santa Monica...

Edify TV: Helping Local Cultural, Religious and LGBTQ+ Centers

April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

Westside cultural, religious and LGBTQ+ centers stand to benefit from a new fund the City of Los Angeles has created...

Man Arrested After Punching Santa Monica Senior Without Provocation

April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

78-year-old assaulted on Wilshire Boulevard last week By Sam Catanzaro A man has been arrested for punching a senior in...

Plans for Downtown Santa Monica Mixed-Use Project Double in Size

April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

Lincoln Boulevard development to include 30 units By Toi Creel Plans for a multi-family housing development in downtown Santa Monica...

Couple Riding Scooters in Santa Monica Robbed at Gunpoint

April 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

Two suspects arrested in connection to March 30 incident By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica officials have filed charges against two...

Santa Monica Parents Launch Recall Effort for Four School Board Members

April 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

Laurie Lieberman, Maria Leon-Vasquez, Jon Kean and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein targeted in recall petition By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica and Malibu...

Four-Story Gastropub Planned for Third Street Promenade

April 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

HQ Gastropub headed for Third Street Promenade By Toi Creel A four-story gastropub is planned for Santa Monica’s Third Street...

Food Review: A Proper Breakfast Burrito

April 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

Breaking down the bacon breakfast burrito from Santa Monica’s Holy Guacamole By Kerry Slater A hole in the wall rolls...