Thinking Citizen Blog — The Vaccine Roll-Out
Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic: The Vaccine Roll-out: what are the best questions? what are the best answers?
How many are choosing to take the vaccine when offered? Why are some states so much less effective than others at administering the vaccine? Should the federal government take a bigger role in the administration of vaccines? Or has the biggest problem so far been states “adhering too much to the federal government’s initial guidance to limit the first batches to health care workers and long-term care residents, followed by front-line employees over age 75.” Has the result been that “States could not find enough takers, and precious doses ended up in the trash.” By the way, how many doses have ended up in the trash? Is it true that all the states with the highest vaccination rates are federal “rule breakers” (eg. Alaska, West Virginia, and North Dakota)? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
NATIONALLY, THE ADMINISTRATION RATE IS 53% OF DISTRIBUTED VACCINES
1. But variation is huge state to state.
2. West Virginia has given out 83% of its doses.
3. California and Rhode Island — just 45%!!!
NB: West Virginia’s principal problem is supply. It has capacity for 125,000 vaccines per week. But only has supply of 23,600.
WHY IS THE MASSACHUSETTS ADMINISTRATION RATE 43%?
1. Distribution in Massachusetts started a week later than in other states because early distribution was dependent on prioritizing long term care sites and Governor Baker’s choice was to prioritize front-line health workers.
2. Staff at long term care sites have been reluctant to get vaccinated themselves. “Operators say between 40 and 70 percent of their staffers were injected in the first series of vaccination clinics, compared to 85 percent or more of residents. Resistance is highest among immigrants from Haiti, Russia, and other countries, including some young women rattled by unfounded Internet rumors that vaccines will make them infertile, administrators say.”
3. Delay in the implementation of a new software system and lack of a central pre-registration system as in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Indiana.
RACIAL DISPARITIES IN VACCINE ACCESS — a Boston Globe investigation
1. “If you are Black or Latino and living in Suffolk County, you are more likely to have to travel farther than white residents for a coveted dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, a Globe analysis has found.”
2. “In Suffolk County, which includes Boston as well as Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, Black and Latino residents face stark disparities in vaccine access: Fewer than 14 percent of Black residents and roughly 26 percent of Latinos live in census tracts that are within 1 mile of a vaccination site, compared with nearly 46 percent of white residents.”
3. Currently, the only public vaccination site in Suffolk County is at the South Boston Community Health Center. A mass vaccination site at Fenway Park is slated to open Feb. 1 for prioritized groups.”
NB: “Once again, we are in the back of the line and we are forgotten and neglected,” said Dinanyili Paulino, chief operating officer of the Chelsea-based nonprofit La Colaborativa, which operates a food pantry serving thousands of residents a week. “Why should we have to come to Fenway? We are the epicenter. They should come to us. … Our members don’t even have 50 cents to ride the bus.” Are acceptance rates lower in minority communities? In all states or in just some rather than others? Which ones? why?
For the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.