“It is an American tragedy”

Vaccines in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes care for the most vulnerable citizens. Residents are a high-risk population for the coronavirus. Nursing homes account for  40% of all U.S. deaths due to the virus. However, the CDC reports that only about 15% of the first shots meant for long-term care facilities have gone to residents so far.

“It is an American tragedy,” said Elaine Ryan. She is vice president for state advocacy and strategy at AARP. “The states need to redouble their efforts to make sure that vaccines are being administered as quickly as possible.”

Early in the pandemic, people with COVID-19 reported the loss of smell and taste. Somehow, the virus affected nerves that carry information from the nose to the brain. There is compelling evidence that covid-19 may have long-term effects on the brains and nervous systems of survivors. That is scary for all of us exposed to the virus.

“We were afraid that SARS CoV-2 was going to invade the brain,” says Dr. Gabriel de Erausquin. He is an investigator at the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Researchers will study covid-19 for years. Hopefully, nursing homes will prepare for the next pandemic. It is inevitable. Safe sufficient staffing of compassionate and competent caregivers are the key to quality of care.


The government paid and provided these vaccines for residents and staff of long-term-care facilities. The vaccine doses are reserved for people living in long-term care facilities. They are the highest risk of dying from covid-19. However, at least one long-term care facility is using their vaccines to help rich donors instead of residents. Incredible.

MorseLife Health System is a luxury nursing home and assisted-living facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.  They gave the vaccine to members of the board and major financial donors. MorseLife gave rich people priority over the residents!

The deal violates national immunization guidelines, as well as state protocols. It also violates every moral and ethical rule. Disgusting. This is ridiculous. How can Florida allow this to happen? How many other facilities are doing the same thing?

“We were told to tell our constituents that the process is in place, and that they need to be patient,” said state Sen. Bobby Powell (D).

State Rep. Omari Hardy represents the section of West Palm Beach that includes MorseLife. He said the facility appeared to be “selling access to this vaccine.” He said it was unimportant that recipients may have fallen within the age group eligible to be immunized.

Hardy said, “So if MorseLife is giving this vaccine away to the well-connected, they need to be held accountable for that.”

Now, anyone aged 65 or older sholud send in a name, phone number and date of birth to the county. Maybe supplies will last. However, there is no guarantee that an appointment will be forthcoming. If I were a resident or family member of a resident, I would call Governor DeSantis.