With latent concern about the entry into the country of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and its subsequent community circulation, the City made progress in recent weeks with vaccination of older adults living in residencesAnd almost 100% received both doses. He also worked in the inoculation of the personnel who assist this group of neighbors who last year suffered massive infections and dozens of deaths.
Many nursing homes were hit by this coronavirus pandemic. Since it began, there have been 6,767 infections and 1,205 deaths. The situation also generated enormous anguish among families who for months could not see their loved ones.
According to official data, in the City there are 16,542 older adults residing in 498 nursing homes. And there are 16,479 who already have second doses. Almost 100%. In addition, 90% of the nursing home workers were vaccinated and the schedule was completed (7,319 already have second doses applied).
Nursing homes were badly hit by the pandemic. Last year, some had to be evacuated due to massive infections. Photo Germán García Adrasti
In dialogue with Clarion, the Director of Operational Planning of the Ministry of Health of the City, Paula Zingoni, explained that people left unvaccinated respond to different circumstances. For example, they applied the flu, they are studying coronavirus and have to wait, or they are hospitalized with other ailments. There are also families who do not authorize vaccination.
“Of course, in the residences the protocols continue and positive cases are monitored. In addition, tests are carried out on all close contacts. But with the second doses applied the referrals decreased and we see that those who test positive are asymptomatic or have a very mild disease“Zingoni said.
And he added: “This is very important, because it allows us to think about a protocol that allows more mobility for older adults living in residences“.
Hugs through plastic in a geriatric home in Valencia, Spain. File photo / EFE / Biel Aliño
Thus, these days, they are working on protocol changes for this population. “We will allow that those people who already have the second doses applied can leave and that at least three weeks have passed since complete inoculation, “Zingoni announced.
Strictly speaking, it is not that they have been prohibited from exiting, but reentry requires isolation which makes the dynamics inside the residences very complex. Basically, because the residents who leave when they return must remain isolated due to the risk they imply for the rest of the elderly.
“We are relieved, we all have the second doses applied. Both residents and workers. All with AstraZeneca and we had almost no side effects, “he told Clarion Norma Ghio, geriatrician and medical director of Casa del Sol, a residence located in the Almagro neighborhood.
Completing the vaccination of nursing home residents with two doses made those who are infected with Covid have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. Photo Mauricio Nievas
Of course, despite having managed to close the vaccination scheme, they are not neglected. “Our staff is exhausted. It takes a lot to recover and find enough strength to continue. The demand for care from our patients is impressive, “said Ghio.
But the resilience capacity of older adults compensates a little for their daily work: “They have an enormous capacity to adapt. It is true that they had to reduce many activities, such as workshops, but they take advantage of family visits very consciously. They are done with strict protocols, for a short time, but they do them very well, “said Ghio.
Perhaps families have a harder time going through the situation: “It is very common to see parents with a smile from ear to ear and the children crying with sadness“, he described.
The graduate in Psychology and Psychogerontology Blas Rimmaudo, medical director of the Montalto Group -with 9 nursing homes in the City- also said that in these establishments all are vaccinated with second doses. The residents received AstraZeneca and the workers, Sputnik V.
“As a strategy, at the beginning of this pandemic we organized that people stay ten days in a row working in residences. It was the way to cut the infections and it really worked. Now, with vaccinated workers, we gave the option to return at 8 hours of work and we had some infections again. But it happens that, due to vaccination, transmission dropped a lot and none of the infected, all workers, had health complications, “explained Rimmaudo.
Although he regretted_ “The second vaccine was barbaric news but the general mood is complicated. There is that feeling that the pandemic does not end. And now, we are preparing to face what this Delta variant entails. “