This post probably isn’t about what you think it might be about from the title. It is about the curious fact that countries and US states with conservative leaders are doing a better job of getting people vaccinated than countries with progressive leaders.
This comes from an interesting article in (of all places) the NY Times, titled “The Left’s Vaccine Problem“. The problem seems to be that progressive governments are spending too much effort worrying about who should get the vaccine, instead of just focusing on getting shots into arms. In some cases, vaccine has been thrown away because they didn’t have enough of the “right people”, and there were penalties for giving it to the wrong people. Sheesh.
I’m fine that we got front-line healthcare workers vaccinated first. Not only do they need it more than anyone else, and it would be an even worse disaster if we lost doctors and nurses during a pandemic, and it was easy to identify these people and get them shots quickly (after all, most of them work in hospitals!)
But after that, it seems like the best way to fight the pandemic is to get it to everyone as quickly as possible. It really doesn’t matter who “deserves” it more. We need to get to herd immunity quickly, and that will benefit everyone.
Rather than spend our time deciding who can’t get the vaccine, let’s spend any extra time and effort identifying people who are having problems getting it (for example, older people in nursing homes) and get them some help.
This is no time to worry about being politically correct.
Having read the article and then looked at the data the Times is carrying on per capita vaccinations by state, I’m under-awed by the journalists take on the disparity between states. Most states – blue and red – are floating around in the 7.5 to 8.7% range. There are a couple that stand out as the author pointed out, but there are red and blue states in the lower grouping as well as in the mid-range. He singles out California as being tied up in knots (not to say there haven’t been issues – there have been), yet today I see that California is 0.2% below the national average. Unless I’m totally missing something, within the US this is a mountain out of a molehill.
Europe is having a real problem not getting the shots into peoples’ arms, but getting the vaccine delivered so that it can be put into hypos and then put into arms is, according to friends, a bigger issue. Much of the issue is that big pharma has been unable to deliver the quantity of serum, not so much that the member states are having issues once they have a supply.
By the way, I got my first dose of Moderna this AM way up here in the middle of nowhere California. “>D
I noticed the article’s hyperbole as well. But there are documented cases of serum being thrown away because of lack of the “right” people to be given it. And you even made the point that lack of serum is the big problem in some places.
So I will stick with my assertion that we need to get everyone vaccinated ASAP, and not worry quite so much about who gets it first (other than front-line medical).
I also have had my first dose of Moderna, but it was a crazy amount of effort to get it, and I ended up driving a couple of hours each way, even though I do not live in the middle of nowhere. And I’ll have to drive that again because of stupid rules, in order to get my second dose. It is crazy.
Making it MORE difficult to get vaccinated just doesn’t make any sense.
We started out taking the approach you prefer — just grab an arm of the proper age. The result is that the vaccine has disproportionately gone to affluent white people.
If it doesn’t bother you that geezers in nursing homes got priority, it really shouldn’t bother you that people of color get mildly prioritized too — for the same reason, that the virus treats them much worse.
When you’re modestly middle class, it’s easy to forget the basics that a lot of people don’t have — like a personal vehicle, or even access to transportation. I can use a drive-through clinic, you can drive a couple of hours to get a shot, and we don’t even realize that we are exercising privilege when we do.
Finally, you can prove pretty much anything with anecdotes. Don’t forget the story of the Oregon team caught in a huge traffic jam on their way home from a remote clinic, with 6 doses aging out in the cooler. They did a pop-up clinic, going from one becalmed car to the next, and used up their 6 doses.
The two vaccines currently in use in the US are very high-maintenance, and the pool of willing recipients is unpredictable. There will inevitably be some wastage, no matter what approach we take.
Notycoon’s point is a good one — the differences in utilization among States are statistically insignificant. Unlike the stats on who is getting vaccinated — those differences ARE statistically significant.
Westomoon, maybe I wasn’t clear. I said we should definitely help people who have problems getting the vaccine. If people don’t have transportation to go get immunized, then provide free rides for them. Or set up clinics within walking distance. Or have nurses go door-to-door. Do what it takes to get everyone immunized.
What I am against is prohibiting anyone from getting the vaccine. You don’t help people without cars to get vaccinated by prohibiting people without cars from getting the vaccine. That’s just nuts.
The people more likely to get exposed should go first. I myself am high risk married to a nurse, she had the shot, I let her go out into the world, I work from home. My daughters are a caregivers in homes for the mentally challenged, my youngest contracted Covid-19 and her company wanted to still work because the co-worker that gave it to her infected 2 houses. My daughter wore a mask at all times. She should have gotten the shots.