Vaccinating most of the population, especially the elderly, is one way to curb the great pandemic.
The world is entering the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of this writing, there is still no cure for the said virus that has claimed more than two million lives and has infected over 133 million people worldwide. With the cure not yet in sight, the only hope is to vaccinate as many people as we can to achieve the so-called herd immunity. Experts estimate that in order to achieve herd immunity, a good 70 to 90 percent of the total population. Children and the elderly are also priority targets to ensure the curb. Since December of last year, over 171 million doses have been administered to more than 64.4 million people across the United States. This is just 19.4% of the total population.
Covid 19 Vaccines for the Elderly
Part of achieving herd immunity is to secure those who are most vulnerable to the virus. The medical front liners, essential personnel from different sectors, and of course, our elderly and young are all easy targets for the virus.
Eligibility for vaccines varies from state to state, but it is safe to say that individuals 16 years old and above are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. On that note, the elderly, especially those above 60 years old and those residents of long-term care facilities, have long been eligible for vaccine shots.
According to https://www.aarp.org/,
“Vaccines are now available to older adults in every state, and President Biden’s administration is pushing for all adults to be able to schedule appointments to receive their shots by mid-April. In more than 30 states, including Florida, New York, and Texas, that’s already possible. But in other states, the definition of an “older” adult who gets vaccine priority varies. States are variously vaccinating anyone age 16 and over, 45 and over, 50 and over, 55 and over, 60 and over, and 65 and over — along with other groups, like certain essential workers and people with underlying medical conditions. In some states, like North Carolina and Arizona, age cutoffs for distribution vary by county.”
The good news is, about 75% of the country’s senior citizens have already been vaccinated. According to the latest figure, about 14 million Americans have at least received one Covid-10 vaccine dose. Around 57% of Americans above 65 years old have been fully vaccinated.
With the majority of senior individuals vaccinated, it will only be a matter of time before the rest of the adult population will catch on and heard immunity achieved hopefully within the year. This will have to depend largely on the availability of the vaccines and how fast the health workers can administer them, especially that there is a rise in the number of Covid variants in the country and in other regions across the globe.
Vaccines for Family Caregivers
Since the start of the vaccine rollout last year, states came up with various guidelines for vaccination. Some have considered include paid or unpaid caregivers, family caregivers of medically fragile children or adults who live at home” in Phase 1 vaccine allocation. Family caregivers include those family members caring for sick or elderly family members. In the past, we have featured a book about being a 24/7 caregiver by Gaccetta. In the book, we get a glimpse of the family caregivers’ situation and the need for them to be taken care of as well. Another fact is that there are millions of caregivers out there, and they too should be part of the priority for the vaccine program if we are to achieve heard immunity fast.
Caregivers are an integral part of the health care system. Although they have different roles and responsibilities, they form part of the team that is taking care of a patient. With the pandemic still going on, we need our caregivers healthy and stress-free. That goes the same for our family caregivers. They are an extension to the medical care system at home. They are the closest contact to the patient at home, and they also run the risk of contracting or spreading the Covid-19 virus. It will greatly benefit both patients and family caregivers if both are fully vaccinated.
Eleanor Gaccetta is the author of the powerful memoir, One Caregiver’s Journey. It is a book that chronicles the nine and a half years that she served as a 24/7 caregiver to her late mother. Catch Eleanor Gaccetta at The Festival of Storytellers this April 23-25 and April 30-May 02, 2021.