Nursing Homes Are A Top Priority For COVID Vaccines. But Vaccinating Everyone Won’t Be Simple.
Nursing home residents and staff members will be among the first people in the United States to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
But there are significant challenges to overcome before the vaccine is broadly administered to this high-risk population, which has been hit harder than any other by the pandemic.
Groups representing long-term care facilities are adamant that their residents and staff should be at the very front of the line, given their vulnerability to the virus. Long-term care facilities were linked to more than 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 as of November, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research organization, about 40 percent of the total deaths from the virus in the U.S. at that point.
“If long-term residents and those employees aren’t vaccinated first, it is an enormous public health blunder,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, which represent long-term care facilities, said Monday on a press call. If states put others first, “it doesn’t mean the vaccines will be wasted,” he added. “But the single best way to very quickly reduce the number of Covid deaths is to get the population vaccinated who is dying.”