Vaccine Priority Due to PPE

Lack of PPE

Nationwide there is a lack of personal protective equipment for caregivers. South Carolina’s nursing homes still do not have sufficient supplies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard shows staff and PPE shortages in South Carolina’s nursing homes. However, South Carolina’s nursing homes received over $60 million of federal funds. Where did the money go?

The initial AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard data showed South Carolina had the highest death rate in the nation for nursing home residents. South Carolina was above the national average in all five key measures. However, the nation has caught up and now South Carolina is close to the national average. Certainly nothing to be proud of since preventable failures caused 100,000 resident deaths.

“More than 1,000 South Carolina nursing home residents and staff have already died of COVID-19 representing about 38% of all COVID-19 deaths, and still facilities don’t have the PPE and staffing needed to protect residents,” said AARP spokesman. “This is a tragedy that must be addressed.”

Vaccine Priority

Nationwide, deaths stemming from long-term care facilities account for 40% of all COVID-19 fatalities. For 18 states, they account for at least 50% of all deaths. The lack of PPE and staff requires giving nursing homes priority to the vaccine.

Giving COVID-19 vaccines to seniors early could protect the most vulnerable adults.  The American Health Care Association, LeadingAge, Argentum and the American Seniors Housing Association said in a joint statement:

“Vulnerable older adults and the frontline workers who protect them deserve the full support of the public health sector. Government reports correctly identified all long-term care residents and staff for priority distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. It is critical that policymakers at all levels maintain that position as these products come online and are delivered across the country.

“Post-Thanksgiving surges in cases are unlikely to spare this community and will likely lead to an even higher death toll in long-term care facilities, raising questions about whether nursing homes and other facilities are able to protect their residents and, if not, what actions can be taken to mitigate the threat posed by the virus,” KFF analysts stated.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-1 to approve the groups’ prioritization during an emergency meeting yesterday.