Viewpoints: Lessons On Improving Vaccine Distribution
Opinion writers weigh in on best ways to increase vaccine supply and get it to the most vulnerable.
The New York Times:
Biden Should Boost Covid Vaccine Supply With New Manufacturing Plan
The Covid-19 pandemic has been mismanaged for months. Now vaccines are here — but in very short supply. Most Americans will wait months to get immunized, and poorer countries are scrambling to find any vaccines at all. There is another way. President-elect Joe Biden can solve the U.S. and worldwide vaccine shortages by using a strategy inspired by the one our country used to address the AIDS crisis. Mr. Biden can marshal the federal government’s resources to manufacture additional vaccine supplies and combine that move with vigorous efforts to boost distribution. Nearly two decades ago, Anthony Fauci, who was then almost 20 years into his role as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, helped persuade President George W. Bush to establish the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. (James Krellenstein, Peter Staley and Wafaa M. El-Sadr, 1/12)
Speeding Up COVID-19 Vaccinations Is A Race Against Time
The nation's historic COVID-19 vaccination campaign began Dec. 14, 2020. Since then, 27 million doses have been distributed with only 9.3 million doses administered as of Jan. 11. As the United States faces what may be its most consequential days of the pandemic, breaking record highs of new infections and hospitalizations with over 4,000 Americans reported dead in a single day and two highly transmissible variants, COVID-19 shots in arms to slow hospitalizations and deaths are urgently needed. (Dr. Syra Madad, 1/13)
The Washington Post:
We Need A Better Way Of Distributing The Covid-19 Vaccine. Here’s How To Do It.
The covid-19 vaccine distribution effort is in trouble, and the Trump administration’s plan to release more of the existing vaccine supply intensifies the urgent need for improvement. Only about a third of the more than 25 million doses distributed nationwide have been given to people, federal data show. Hundreds of different distribution programs are being organized across states and counties for front-line health workers, residents of long-term care facilities, the elderly and others that states are prioritizing in different sequences. The resulting complexity means that few Americans can answer the basic question: When and where can I get vaccinated? (Drew Altman, 1/12)
Crain's Cleveland Business:
Fighting COVID-19 Is Biden's First And Most Urgent Job
President-elect Joe Biden's first and most urgent task will be to repair the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given how badly the current president has bungled the job, it won't be hard to do better. Even so, the scale of the task is daunting. From the start, President Donald Trump failed to organize the response or create a national plan to allocate medical supplies, coordinate test-and-trace efforts and prepare states to distribute vaccines. He refused to heed scientific reality or let professionals lead the public health response. He fomented bitter disagreement among his own advisers. Trump hasn't even bothered to wear a mask or otherwise lead Americans to take basic precautions. In most ways, Biden simply needs to do the opposite.
The Wall Street Journal:
Vaccination By Age Is The Way To Go
It is time for simplification. To deliver free vaccines with maximum speed, the health-care system needs to follow a simple rule that applies to everyone. Fortunately, such a rule is readily available: date of birth. The older the person, the higher the priority. One can prove one’s age simply by showing a driver’s license, Medicare or Medicaid card, or another form of identification. For most, that information is already embedded in the files of hospitals, pharmacies and doctors’ offices. (Paul E. Peterson, 1/12)
Los Angeles Times:
Stop Sitting On COVID Vaccine, California. People Are Dying
Federal officials agreed on Tuesday to release the nation’s entire stock of COVID-19 vaccination doses for immediate distribution — something that President-elect Joe Biden and a group of governors including Gov. Gavin Newsom have urged. That’s great. Vaccines only work when they are used. The federal government had been holding back half its vaccine stock in reserve to ensure that there were enough second doses to go around. (The two COVID-19 vaccines currently used in the U.S. require two shots, three or four weeks apart.) But the steady ramp-up of production has made federal officials more confident there will be plenty to go around in coming weeks. Indeed, at this point, supply exceeds demand, according to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. (1/13)
The Wall Street Journal:
An Anti-Bureaucracy Vaccine, Please
The Trump Administration said Tuesday it would release vaccine doses that it had been holding back for second inoculations and send more shots to states that are administering them faster. Thank you. This should speed up vaccinations by putting more pressure on states to relax the bureaucratic and political controls that have slowed the rollout. “Every vaccine dose that is sitting in a warehouse rather than going into an arm could mean one more life lost or one more hospital bed occupied,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a press briefing. He’s right. Only 9.3 million of the 27.7 million vaccine doses that have been shipped to states have been administered. (1/12)