There has been a lot of news in the Bay Area about the confusion, efficiencies, and hierarchy of who gets vaccinated first lately. From glitches in the software program allowing folks to make appointments that weren’t supposed to, to the slowness of getting the doses from the fridge to the arms of citizens. At the risk of pissing some people off, I am going to stray from typical ECA topics to muse on why I think our “progressive” policies are hurting us in the biggest pandemic crisis of the last century. I do this to consider this-if we cannot get our “you know what together” in this crisis, how well do you think socialized medicine will do in non-emergency situations? Although this is not ECA stuff as usual, it certainly affects all of us.
Let me start by qualifying this conversation by this: These opinions and observations are my own, I do not profess that these opinions speak for ECA membership at all.
I also want to share that I got my first vaccination shot several days ago in AZ, and the process of registering and getting stuck in the arm was efficient and timely. No confusion, no problems, made my appointment, got the shot, got the appointment for the 2nd shot, and was on my way in about one-hour total time. I did this at a “mass site” with hundreds of other people going through the process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This does not sound like the experience folks are having in the Northern Bay Area.
In doing my extensive research (lol), I tried to find where “progressive governments” are seeing success. I did not limit my extensive research to the USA. Europe’s efforts have deteriorated into “chaos” according to an article from France (Opinion | Europe’s Vaccine Rollout Has Descended Into Chaos – The New York Times (nytimes.com). The Netherlands is one of the worst having administered to only 2% of its population (compared to the United States at 8.4%). Canada, touted as a “model” of socialized medicine systems, is lagging far behind the USA at 3%. Some of the “success” stories are from Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Britain are doing better than anyone else (15% of their population have been vaccinated already). Strangely, they are all led by Conservatives. Coincidence?
Many of the progressive countries in Europe have taken a “ponderous and risk averse” approach to administering the vaccinations so as to not “offend” anybody. This has led to intricate rules of qualifying who gets vaccinated first and it has slowed administering the vaccine doses to a crawl.
Within the United States, Alaska and West Virginia are doing better than any other states in getting doses into arms. They seem to be taking a more “top-down” approach that relies less on intricate rules of who goes first, and more on getting all available vaccines into arms as fast as supplies allow. California and New York have by comparison, spent a lot of time and effort deciding who does not get to have the vaccinations first, and this approach has led to confusion, frustration, and in some cases, tossing out some vaccine doses that did not get administered in time.
The world has one new, and very high-profile, progressive government with a chance to show it can do better: the Biden administration.
The Trump administration fell far short of its own goal for vaccination speed, but by its final days it did get the country close to President Biden’s stated goal of 1 million shots per day. Biden has since suggested his new goal is 1.5 million per day.
To make this happen, the administration is pushing Moderna and Pfizer to accelerate production, as well as helping states open mass-vaccination clinics and expand drugstore programs, according to The Times’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg. If the government gives Johnson & Johnson permission to begin distributing its vaccine this month, as appears likely, that will help, too.
The trade-offs between equity and efficiency are real: Rapid vaccination programs will first reach many relatively privileged people. But the trade-offs may be smaller than that sentence suggests. COVID-19 has exacted a terribly unequal toll partly because people in vulnerable groups have suffered more severe versions of the disease, as a result of underlying health conditions.
The most effective way to save lives is probably to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.
In order to get as many vaccinated as quickly as possible, you just need to do that. This flies in the face of logic of the progressive administrations of Newsom and Cuomo (California and New York, respectively). They seem more intent on deciding if prisoners get vaccinated before assisted care residents, or teachers get vaccinated ahead of people aged 65-74.
My opinion, and I have zero qualifications to speak on this subject, is, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO GETS IT FIRST! You want to get to “herd immunity” as fast as possible, then get those doses in the arms of everyone as fast as possible. I have been trying for weeks to find out how many doses have been allocated to California, and from the State to the County of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Lake and Mendo. These numbers seem to be as protected as the nuclear code! In the meantime, you see this week in Sonoma County that the Supervisors seemingly cannot fire their “verbal blame bullets” fast enough at Paul Gullixson and some others as their handling of the vaccine rollout got all screwed up via a software program glitch that was in the State program they are using. My uneducated and unqualified suggestion is to throw out the software program, and if you have 10,000 doses available from 2-6-2021 to 2-13-2021, allow 10,000 appointments for that period. It does not matter if they are older, younger, a teacher (who by the way doesn’t teach in the public-school classrooms so I may change my opinion soon and suggest teachers must go last-just kidding all you teachers out there!), a senator, or a prisoner. It does not matter. It is the numbers that matter as applied to the timeline. The faster the better!
This obviously is not a soapbox that is complimentary towards the GOP. Yes, I think the successful countries and states seem to be more conservative than progressive. But I would not give the Trump Administration an “A” for their vaccine rollout. It is too early to judge Biden on his rollout. I hope Biden can overcome the progressive tendencies of trying hard to get certain people vaccinated first at the expense of more people faster getting the vaccination.
And that, according to my dumb theory, is where the problem lies. Getting more people vaccinated faster, does not fit the “progressive” way of doing things. This is an emergency to get our businesses back up and running, get our kids back into the schools, and get our citizens protected from Covid19 as soon as possible. To do that, we need 75% of the population vaccinated. Let’s get ‘er done! As soon as we get out of this pandemic, the ECA members can get their business and private lives back to “normal” safely and that is all I am trying to say. Let’s do that shall we?
Go Joe Biden Go! I am rooting for you.
That’s All Folks!