With vaccines and growing herd immunity, is it possible for vulnerability to increase?
That depends on who you are and where you are—particularly if you’re in a nursing home.
As we all know, age compromises immune function, which is why more than 170,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID over the last 4 years. But with anything as complex as a planetwide contagion, many more factors are at play.
The first round of vaccines were driven by a unified push, not only from government and hospitals, but individuals as well. For example, how many nursing home residents would have no interest in a vaccine while their friends are dying to the left and right? Motivation boosts coordination, so most of the US nursing home population received the first dose.
Since then, efforts have become disorganized, and progress haphazard. Xavier Becerra is the secretary of Health and Human resources, and as such, he has fallen squarely in the cross hairs of those who are unhappy with the slackening vaccination tide.
Katie Smith Sloan, president of the group Leading Age, recently wrote a letter to Becerra which said, in part: “Americans look to you as the highest public health official in the land; it would speak volumes if, in addition to other actions, you appealed directly to [nursing home] residents and their family members.”
She went on to offer a punch list that she claimed would help. Furthermore, nursing homes lodge their own complaints, saying the government doesn’t reimburse enough for them to keep up with vaccinations. Others argue back, saying that even if were possible to meet all of these demands, the problems would still remain.
So there seems to be enough blame to go around, but regardless, less than 40% of nursing home residents have received the most recent booster.
Maybe this speaks to a larger problem, or not even a problem, but simply a facet of human existence. COVID frightened people at first, motivated them to take action; but the human body and mind can’t remain in an alerted state indefinitely. Physiologic responses relax; and worrisome, even shocking things begin to normalize with continual personal, media, and social exposure.
During the London bombing raids of WWII, people eventually just went about their lives, even while buildings were being blown apart. At a certain point of continual danger, what else can you do but get on with it?
Well, there is one thing we can do. We can remember to be vigilant, and remind ourselves of those most vulnerable (like the elderly) who need our watchful eye.
So here’s a blog to do just that.
Thanks for reading,
Transonic Systems, Inc
The Measure of Better Results