There was a real sense of optimism in late-2020 as health and government officials talked about plans for the newly approved vaccines. Millions of people would get the shot and turn the tide on this deadly pandemic. One official from the Trump administration even discussed the possibility of all nursing home residents getting vaccinated in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, the all-too-predictable problems in implementing these plans have left many feeling angry and frustrated.
Shots given as a common courtesy
It is becoming clear that the vaccines are not getting to the people at the promised speed, and there are now reports here in Texas that people outside of priority groups 1A and 1B received shots without even an appointment. These were administered in Austin as what was called “a common courtesy.”
In other words, people who were not healthcare workers, people with compromised immune systems, and people not older than 65 or living in long-term care facilities got their first vaccination shot.
According to a spokesperson for the Austin Public Health:
“We had people that were in the line, that had stayed in the line. So out of a common courtesy, we decided to go ahead and provide that vaccine to them. We have to emphasize, going forward, that is not going to be the case.”
Nevertheless, there are other reports from around the country of people getting vaccinated if they show up and wait in line. As the APH official acknowledged, this should not have happened and needs to stop. Some will no doubt justify their actions in cutting the vaccine line, but they put themselves ahead of the elderly and vulnerable as well as those who provide health care.
Nursing home offers vaccine to donors and board
In another huge lapse in judgment, one nursing home in Florida offered coronavirus vaccines earmarked for the residents and staff to board members and donors. According to the Washington Post, the administrators at the facility went so far as to call and send letters to potential recipients, some of whom accepted the offer.
This obviously violates national and state immunization guidelines and highlights the patchwork nature (enabling loopholes to be found) of the current vaccine rollout. Nevertheless, the nursing home did it. Those with loved ones in nursing homes and long-term facilities should remain in contact with the staff who care for them. This is one way to ensure that the elderly get the care they were promised and deserve.