Surely there are plenty of places to lay blame, but the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is doing anything but rolling out.
The first finger-pointing should begin with the federal government and its lack of direction from the beginning of the pandemic. With the lack of leadership and direction regarding precautions, no one should have expected an efficient and expedient distribution of vaccines.
The general discussion by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Health Department sounded good and almost anyone (except minorities) could agree with the logic of vaccinating front line workers first, but the discussion and forethought stopped right there.
Anyone who reads a newspaper knew there were going to be challenges regarding the extra cold storage. There would be transportation challenges from the first mile to the final mile.
Watching nurses doing trial runs with immunizing people in their cars in the weeks leading up to the release of the first Pfizer vaccine seemed like solid planning and practice. And those acts may still produce some great results when the vaccine finally trickles down to we mere mortals.
The problem seems to be with healthcare workers and nursing homes. Go figure.
No one expected 18 percent of healthcare workers in the country to say, “No thanks” to the vaccine. These are folks who regularly see the worst results of all types of viruses and disease. Apparently that experience and common sense aren’t enough to overcome strong “anti-vaxxer” propaganda and religious or political attachments.
We were doing well in New Mexico. We’ve distributed about 83 percent of the 50,000 doses we were allotted. State health officials say another 20,000 doses have come into the state.
Tuesday news reports state we've hit some snags and while vaccines continue to come into the state (102,000), there are problems getting them into people's awaiting arms.
The Albuquerque Journal reported 1,292 shots were given in the past two weeks, compared to over 41,000 in the two previous weeks.
Nationwide getting a needle in the right arms is proving a monumental task. Washington talking heads were bragging 20 million vaccines by end of year, but at this writing those numbers were closer to 3 million.
While the logic and ideal “process” to distribute the vaccine sounded good, the reality is different. We can’t grasp the difficulty of a hospital administrator telling a specific group of healthcare workers, let’s say Emergency Room nurses, “Be in room 220 at 10 a.m., Monday to get your vaccine.” Reports indicate about 18 percent would push back and that’s fine, let them work the ER for 10 minutes while the other 82 percent get vaccinated.
Hospitals defrosting too many doses and in a panic vaccinating hospital staff’s families is also troublesome. Carpenters like to say, “Measure twice, cut once.” The same applies here. Count noses, set appointments, poke an arm. Is it really more complicated than that?
There must be mixed feelings about Hobbs School District getting some staff vaccinated last week. They want their schools open and shifted the state and federal model to their own liking. If it got vaccines in arms, good for them.
You have to have some sympathy/empathy for the seniors that line the streets throughout Florida cities waiting many hours to get vaccinated. Almost 200,000 New Mexicans have electronically signed up for the vaccine. Again it makes sense to vaccinate healthcare workers and nursing home residents and caretakers, if you’ve got people ready and willing, push them to the front of the line if someone’s dragging their feet.
No thinking, reasoning person can wrap their heads around someone not wanting to take the vaccine but our country replete with freedoms surely allows that.
Experts say we need 70 percent of the population vaccinated or otherwise immune to reach herd immunity. The anti-vaxxers will be part of the 30 percent who won’t be in that herd. They will become the most vulnerable and will be in the “infected, dead” column(s) over the next decade.
That’s statistics and it’s OK if they choose to go that route. We just can’t allow them to hold up the line for the rest of us.