COVID vaccines delayed for NJ nursing homes after state officials miss deadline by ONE day
The equation seems simple.
Americans 65 and older are among those most vulnerable to dying from COVID-19. That demographic also makes up the population of nursing home residents. New Jersey is by far the deadliest place on Earth for the coronavirus, clocking a death rate of 201 fatalities per 100,000 people – which runs 8 percent higher than the next deadliest state, New York, and, among nations, outpaces the global leader in death rate tallies, Belgium, by 19 percent.
Obviously, common sense dictates that New Jersey nursing home residents should be a priority group for receiving new COVID vaccines.
But it didn’t turn out that way – at least for the moment.
New Jersey must wait a week before administering immunizations because, according to Fox News, Garden State officials missed a deadline for complying with federal regulations.
“In order to start on the 21st there was a deadline of the 7th … we missed that date by a day,” state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said at a press conference held Friday.
“We asked to start on the 21st and they said, ‘No, you’ll start on the 28th.’ It was as simple as that,” she added.
According to NJ.com, Persichilli attributed the late reporting to the “sheer volume of information that had to be inputted (to get federal approval), nothing more than that.” She noted at the press conference that New Jersey has more than 650 skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities.
NJ.com also reported that COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 7,000 nursing home residents in New Jersey. That’s roughly 39 percent of the state’s total fatalities.
GOP gubernatorial candidate @DSteinhardtEsq says @GovMurphy should fire Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli after NJ missed federal paperwork deadline to begin COVID vaccines in nursing homes. https://t.co/LFVW7c7pIf
— David Wildstein (@wildstein) December 20, 2020
Commenting on the fiasco and the death toll in nursing homes, state Sen. Tom Kean, the Republican Senate leader, said in a statement, “You would think the Murphy administration would waste no effort to ensure that the remaining residents would be vaccinated as quickly as possible. Instead, those vulnerable seniors, our parents and grandparents, will remain at risk even longer over the administration’s failure to file simple paperwork on time. That’s unbelievable and totally unacceptable.”
In a related issue, Kean noted New Jersey was one of just two states, along with New York, that opted against providing details, per a public records request made by the Associated Press, of emergency spending that bought personal protective gear and other medical equipment during the early stages of the virus emergency.
The administration said offering the information would be “substantially disruptive to agency operations,” according to Kean.
“Governor Murphy and his team might deserve some leeway if they were getting the job done in an effective manner, but that’s not what’s happening,” Kean continued. “The Murphy administration’s failures are going to leave the most vulnerable New Jerseyans unprotected for longer, and they’re simultaneously fighting efforts to be held accountable for their flawed response. That’s not good government in any way, shape, or form.”