Last week, after the vaccinations of some frontline hospital workers were completed, 40 doses of precious covid vaccines were given to Jupiter Medical Center. As a result, officials offered shots to the board of the South Florida hospital and their spouses over 65 years of age.

However, that decision sparked outrage among unvaccinated workers, including those at one of the hospital’s emergency clinics, or who believe the hospital found favor with wealthy insiders before all of its employees were protected, according to a hospital employee who spoke about the condition of not named.

The move also resulted in dozens of calls from donors asking for the vaccine.

The hospital received 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine two days before Christmas, less than half what it asked the state to cover its workforce. Officials took great care to deliver the vaccine to health care professionals who requested it and to have vaccinations on Christmas Eve or holiday weekends.

Patti Patrick, the hospital’s vice president, said the hospital had acted appropriately in its offers for the vaccine, which has a short shelf life after opening the vials. Neither she nor any other administrators who do not work directly with patients were included in this first round of shooting.

“This was an easy way to move 40 cans very quickly,” before it spoiled, she said.

She added that all health care workers, including clinics, had the opportunity to take the pictures.

Jupiter isn’t the only hospital in the nation with questions about how to handle the vaccines. The initial rollout, aimed at healthcare workers and nursing home residents, was inconsistent at best as there was no federal strategy for how it worked. States, hospitals, nursing homes, and pharmacies often make their own decisions about who will be vaccinated and when.

In some hospitals, administrators and other staff who are out of touch with patients or who are not at risk from the virus at work are shot, while patients – and even frontline staff – who are at increased risk of covidic complications are shot dead. came by. Some administrators who worked remotely during the pandemic have been vaccinated, especially in hospitals that have chosen to assign doses based on age groups rather than exposure risks.

While state and federal health groups have established comprehensive guidelines for prioritizing vaccines, what was most important in practice was who controlled the vaccine and where the vaccine distribution was handled.

Stanford Health Care in California was forced to revise its priority list after protests from frontline doctors in training said they were wrongly overlooked while the vaccine was being administered to faculties that don’t see patients regularly. (Age was the major factor in the university’s algorithm.)

Members of Congress requested an investigation, media reports said, after MorseLife Health System, a nonprofit that operates a nursing home and assisted living facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, vaccinated donors and country club members who received thousands of dollars companies donated to health.

At least three other hospital systems in South Florida – Jackson Health, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Baptist Health – have offered vaccines to donors in front of the public while administering the shots to frontline workers, The Miami Herald reported.

Like Jupiter Medical, hospitals insist that the admissions offered were 65 years of age and older as prioritized by state officials.

Nita Patel, director of antibody discovery and vaccine development at Novavax, lifts a vial containing the company’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

Personnel problems in hospitals

An advisory board of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention selected hospitals and nursing homes to receive covid vaccines first, as their workers and residents have been classified as most at risk and most states have followed this recommendation. However, in many cases, healthcare facilities have found that demand from staff, some of whom are opposed to the voluntary shot, is less than expected.

In addition, the arrival of promised shipments was not foreseeable. While the federal government approved the first Covid vaccine on December 14, some hospitals did not receive allocations until after Christmas.

This was the case at Hendry Regional Medical Center in Clewiston, Florida, which received 300 doses from the state. The hospital vaccinated 30 of its 285 employees between December 28 and January 5, said RD Williams, its chief executive officer. Some employees preferred to wait after the New Year’s weekend out of concerns about side effects, he said.

The vaccine has been reported to cause frequent injection site pain and sometimes fever, lethargy, or headache. The reactions usually do not last longer than a few days.

“I’m happy with how things have gone so far,” said Williams. “I know a lot of our employees want to be vaccinated, but I don’t see it as a panacea that they have to have it today,” he said, noting that employees already have masks and gloves to protect themselves from the virus.

The hospital is also trying to coordinate vaccination schedules so that 10 people get the shot at a time to ensure that medication is not wasted after the multiple-dose vials are thawed. Once the vaccine is thawed, it must be used within hours to be effective.

By January 6, Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC, had vaccinated just over 900 health workers since its first doses arrived on December 14. It received 3,000 cans.

Success has been hampered by worker reluctance to vaccinate and the lack of trained personnel to administer it, said CEO Anita Jenkins.

“We still have a hospital to run and patients with heart attacks and other illnesses in the hospital, and we don’t have additional staff to run the vaccination clinics,” she said.

While some hospitals only offer the vaccine to frontline staff who interact with patients, Howard makes it available to everyone including public relations staff, cafeteria staff, and administrators. Jenkins defended the move because it was the best way to protect the entire hospital.

She noted that employees such as information technology employees who do not see patients may be around doctors and nurses who do. “When working in a hospital, almost everyone comes across patients just walking down the hall,” she said.

At Eisenhower Health, a nonprofit hospital in Rancho Mirage, California, 2,300 of the 5,000 employees were vaccinated.

“Our biggest challenge has been managing the current patient and staffing needs in our acute and critical care areas while ensuring that we have adequate human resources to run the vaccination clinics,” said spokesman Lee Rice.

Vaccine production The BioNtech vaccine production line. AFP / Ina FASSBENDER

A non-unequal distribution system

Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said hospitals should not vaccinate board members in front of hospital employees unless they have a critical role in running the hospital.

“It seems to me like I’m going to the top of the line trying to reward those who might be potential donors,” he said. However, he acknowledged that hospitals’ vaccination systems are not always rational or fair.

Covid vaccines need to come out as soon as possible, but hospitals can only give them to people they are associated with.

Caplan noted that he had been vaccinated in an outpatient location in New York last week, even though his GP had not yet received the vaccine because his clinic had not received any doses.

Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News January 13, 2021

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a non-profit health news service. It is an editorially independent program of the KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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