Some believe caregivers deserve higher priority in vaccine eligibility line
Posted January 15, 2021 5:52 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2021 6:25 a.m. EST
Those who work with old or at-risk people in long-term care facilities are part of the population that is currently vaccine-eligible.
Caregivers aren't being given the same priority; they are included in the third group to get vaccinated.
Board Certified Patient Advocate Nancy Ruffner said that needs to change.
"I would say they should be higher up than they have been, simply because we are interfacing regularly with folks that need us," Ruffner said.
"The vaccine prioritization is designed to save lives and prevent spread while vaccine supplies are limited. North Carolina moves through vaccination phases by aligning to federal priorities while giving local health departments and hospitals the flexibility to move to the next priority group as they complete the previous one and have vaccines available."
Ruffner said getting caregivers vaccinated should be a higher priority.
According to the National Center on Caregiving, there are just over 800,000 informal caregivers in North Carolina.
"We’re still all looking up and down the line, how we’ve been coming in contact, who’s coming in contact with our loved ones," Ruffner said. "There’s a lot of processing going on and that takes an emotional toll. We are fatigued"
For now, Ruffner says the best thing caregivers can do to avoid bringing the virus home while they wait to get vaccinated is to follow all Center for Disease Control and state recommendations. Wear a mask, wash your hands and get tested as often as you can.