First Nursing Home Vaccines Arrive With Fist Bumps And Applause
Patricia John was still in her nightgown this week in the West Virginia nursing home where she lives when a nurse hurried her out of her room to join a line that had formed in the hallway.
After nine months of watching television alone in her room — visits from her family, lunches at Olive Garden, all postponed — an end was in sight: Mrs. John, 93, became one of the first nursing home residents in the United States to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The first vaccinations are starting just as conditions in long-term care facilities have deteriorated anew, with nearly 20,000 cases and an estimated 5,000 deaths per week, according to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
“The numbers, of course, are staggering,” said Mark Parkinson, the organization’s president. Nursing home residents in their 80s are now more than 600 times more likely to die from a coronavirus infection than someone in their 20s, he said at a news conference last week.