Auburn, N.Y. – An Auburn nursing home says a national group’s claim that Covid-19 vaccine may have killed some of its residents is “blatantly false.”
A website post published Sunday by the Ron Paul Institute suggests without any evidence that the Covid-19 vaccine may have caused 24 deaths at The Commons on St. Anthony. The post provided a link to a Syracuse.com story published Saturday that reported a Covid-19 outbreak at the 300-bed nursing home had infected 137 residents, 24 of whom died. The Syracuse.com story also reported the nursing home, operated by Loretto, had begun vaccinating residents against the virus.
The nursing home says the group’s claim is misleading, the outbreak began before the vaccine was administered and some of the residents who died were not vaccinated.
The Ron Paul Institute post says:
“Things seem to be working backwards at The Commons on St. Anthony nursing home in Auburn, New York. Vaccinating people is supposed to reduce or end coronavirus deaths. Right? But, at The Commons, such deaths are reported to have occurred only after residents began receiving coronavirus vaccinations.”
Julie Sheedy, a Loretto official, said the website was spreading “false and dangerously misleading information.”
She said the nursing home outbreak began in December before the Covid-19 vaccine was available. The first resident tested positive Dec. 16 and an outbreak of additional cases was confirmed Dec. 21, Sheedy said. The nursing home started vaccinating residents Dec. 22.
“We certainly wish the vaccines had been available sooner to help prevent the devastation caused by this virus,” Sheedy said. “But the claims and the timelines on this website are dangerously speculative and factually incorrect. We hope the community knows not to trust unverified information – whether on the web, social media, or heard in-person.”
The first resident deaths from Covid-19 at the nursing home were reported Dec. 29 by the Cayuga County Health Department. Sheedy said some of the residents who died had been vaccinated, but wouldn’t say how many.
“Given the incubation period that we know for this virus, our facility was affected before vaccines were available to be administered,” she said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity to Covid-19 after vaccination. The Covid-19 vaccines require two doses administered about four weeks apart. The CDC says it is possible for someone to get infected with Covid-19 and get sick after they’ve been vaccinated if the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.
The website is named after former congressman, presidential candidate and medical doctor Ron Paul, known for his conservative and libertarian views. The website post was shared widely on social media by some anti-vaccination groups.
Conservative TV host Laura Ingraham also talked about the Auburn nursing home outbreak on her Fox News show Monday night. “Why did an outbreak of Covid deaths at one nursing home coincide with an explosion of vaccine distribution?” she said with a screenshot of the Syracuse.com story in the background.
Ingraham then interviewed Dr. Harvey Risch, a Yale epidemiologist, who said the Covid-19 vaccine is effective at protecting people from getting sick and dying from Covid-19, but does not prevent people who are vaccinated from spreading the virus to others.
The Covid-19 death toll at The Commons increased to 32 as of Monday, according to the state.
Cayuga County has been hit with a post-Thanksgiving surge of Covid-19 cases. The county’s total number of Covid-19 deaths increased from 13 on Dec. 21 to 58 as of Tuesday.
Cayuga County had 3,924 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Tuesday. That number has more than doubled over the past three weeks.
James T. Mulder covers health and higher education. Have a news tip? Contact him at (315) 470-2245 or firstname.lastname@example.org