An elderly dementia patient who tested positive for Covid-19 in an Auckland nursing home received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last month at the request of her daughter.
Nova Gibson said she did not receive the vaccine for her mother earlier in the year because vaccines were in short supply, and she thought she would be safe inside the nursing home in the event of an outbreak.
But now 20 residents and four staff members at Edmonton Meadows Care Home in Henderson have tested positive for the virus and seven are in the hospital.
Gibson’s 93-year-old mother has been living in the nursing home for three and a half years. She has severe dementia and is partially deaf.
“On the test on day three she was negative and then the next day she had a runny nose and a cough when she woke up, they examined her and got the results immediately afterward.”
That Covid test came back positive.
People living in residential care facilities for the elderly were in group two for the launch of the Pfizer vaccine and were eligible for their first dose in late April.
But Gibson said her mother didn’t get her first vaccination until last month.
“When they started vaccinating those older people, I thought there was a shortage of vaccines and every time there was a smell of Covid, they locked up these poor darlings and I delayed it. I am not an anti-vaccine, I am vaccinated myself, but I thought that other people needed it before her and then when Delta came out I thought yeah it’s a game changer and there are a lot of vaccines available so now she has a dose. “
The Health Department said all Edmonton Meadows staff and most residents were fully vaccinated.
First Up wanted to know how many of the residents had recently received a first dose like Gibson’s mother, but Edmonton Meadows declined to be interviewed.
Under level 3 restrictions, family members can only visit nursing home residents in exceptional circumstances, such as if they are receiving end-of-life care.
Gibson said he has not seen his mother since August and cannot understand how Covid-19 got to the nursing home.
“I would say it would have to be a staff member because there have been no visitors. I don’t blame them. The staff still have to go to the supermarket, they still have to live their lives, they have to go home every night to their families. No there is no fault. I am not angry. “
The ministry has not yet identified the source of the cluster, but said it likely originated from someone who entered the facility to visit, make a delivery or work.
Edmonton Meadows has 52 residents and 40 employees, and it is the first nursing home to register cases since the beginning of the August outbreak.
Seven residents are at the hospital and although Nova’s mother is not one of them, she is still worried and would like to visit them. But for now, she’s happy with the care the home provides.
“They send a general email to everyone every day saying that, you know, they have employed more cleaners, the doctors are visiting every day, whatever is going on in general, and then I get a phone call every day with an update on moms. ” condition.”
Six nursing homes reported Covid cases last year, and of the 32 Covid-19-related deaths in New Zealand since the start of the pandemic, half have been nursing home residents.
Four people died after the infections spread at CHT St Margaret’s Rest Home in Auckland’s Te Atatū, while 12 deaths were linked to Rosewood Rest Home in Christchurch, making it the deadliest Covid group in the country to date. date.
Vaccine scientist Helen Petousis-Harris said that although the vaccine is very effective in stopping the spread of the virus and reducing the risk of hospitalization and death, unexpected cases can occur.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, it’s less likely, and if it happens, you’re less likely to feel really bad. We also know that having the vaccine doesn’t make you bulletproof and of course the people we really care about. of these much older people who are more likely to get sick if they have a major case. I think this highlights why this is such an important group to try to keep safe. “
As it has been more than six months since the country began vaccinating, Petousis-Harris said the use of a booster will be important in the future.
“The more time that passes after you’ve been vaccinated, the more susceptible you are to getting the virus and transporting it, which allows that transmission. The boosters will really suppress that reasonably well. So we want to use boosters in the future try to prevent this from happening. kind of things “.
Meanwhile, tests were carried out at Rosaria Rest Home in Auckland’s Avondale after a resident there also tested positive for Covid.