Viewpoints: Lessons On Preventing More Missteps On Vaccination Plans; Will There Be A Hard Sell In Rural America?
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and other public health topics, as well.
Vaccine Plans Should Be Overhauled With Data Before It's Too Late
The first phase of the vaccine rollout, which is supposed to deliver shots to roughly 24 million health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, has been stymied by poorly conceived distribution plans based on judgement calls. Without better use of sound science and data, vaccine plans for the next two phases of the rollout, which aim to inoculate nearly 180 million Americans, could descend into complete chaos. (Gary Velasquez, 1/11)
The Wall Street Journal:
It’s maddening to watch politicians like Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) delay needed Covid vaccinations with needless bureaucracy. For any citizens crying out that there has to be a better way, the good news is that a number of states have been moving quickly to get shots into arms. Recently this column noted the speed of vaccinations in West Virginia. Fortunately the Mountain State is not the only success story.“South Dakota among leaders in COVID-19 inoculations,” notes a headline in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. It seems that state leaders didn’t believe the media consensus that a rapid vaccine approval couldn’t happen. They were prepared for the possibility of success. (James Freeman, 1/11)
The Challenge Of Vaccinating Rural America
Rural Americans are especially hesitant to receive a coronavirus vaccine, and only a highly tailored outreach campaign is likely to change that. The big picture: Even as the coronavirus has surged throughout rural America, most people who live in those areas don’t see vaccination part of a social responsibility to help protect others. By the numbers: In our KFF polling, 35% of rural Americans say they probably or definitely will not get vaccinated, compared to 26% of urban Americans. (Drew Altman, 1/12)
Covid Improved How The World Does Science
The current pandemic will eventually end, leaving us more free to ponder what to keep from all the changes it has wrought. One obvious candidate is open-access scientific journals. Most relevant scientific advances on the Covid-19 front have been put online in open-access form and then debated online. Even if they later came out in refereed journals, their real impact came during their early open-access days. (Tyler Cowan, 1/11)
National Regulators Cut The Red Tape At Their Own Pace
If one country approves a coronavirus vaccine, should another just trust it and follow suit? Covid-19’s rapid global spread pushed labs and manufacturers to develop vaccines quickly. Several are now in use and more are in various stages of development. Early predictions that a vaccine would take 12 to 18 months to arrive seemed optimistic. Hand it to the pharmaceutical companies; they stepped up and delivered. Now, the greater burden is on regulators to deploy vaccines in their countries. Drug approval processes vary by nation and there isn’t a universal one-stop procedure, though various bodies tend to communicate. This means timelines of deployment vary from place to place, often delaying shots going into arms. (Anjani Trivedi, 1/11)
The Washington Post:
1,100 State Department Employees Got Vaccinated. At USAID, Zero Did.
When the federal government dispersed its first round of coronavirus vaccines to federal agencies last month, the State Department received and distributed them to about 1,100 employees in Washington, D.C. But its own development arm, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) got exactly zero, officials told me, despite its crucial role in combating the coronavirus pandemic. This is only the latest — and hopefully the last — example of appalling mistreatment the Trump administration has perpetrated on this organization and its workers. (Josh Rogin, 1/11)
Richmond Times Dispatch:
A More Proactive COVID-19 Vaccine Process
Creating the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines required “innovation” and “collaboration.” But those characteristics have been lacking in distribution models across the country. We hope Virginia leaders will do their part to nurture a more proactive process in the weeks and months ahead. Lives depend on it. Monday was an example of taking action. After Gov. Ralph Northam’s firm directive this past week to accelerate vaccinations across the commonwealth, 11 local health districts began administering inoculations to Virginians in Phase 1b. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 vaccine webpage also now spells out eligible participants in greater detail: front-line essential workers; people ages 75 and older; and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters or migrant labor camps. (1/11)
Los Angeles Times:
Could Trump Have A Reality-Distorting Mental Condition?
In the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, egged on by President Trump, members of the House, the Senate and Trump’s Cabinet are weighing options on how to ensure the safety of the nation and the integrity of our democracy. There have been calls for his resignation or removal by the 25th Amendment for his being unable to discharge the duties of the office. On Friday afternoon Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) announced that the House would launch a second impeachment if Trump did not resign “immediately.” As the gatekeepers of our democracy, they need to inquire about whether Trump is potentially dangerous as the commander in chief — including raising questions about whether he has a reality-distorting mental state. One such condition is “delusional disorder,” which is unique among psychiatric conditions in that the area of dysfunction can be highly circumscribed. (Eli Merritt, 1/9)
Lilly's Alzheimer's Drug Isn’t Worth $20 Billion Yet
Alzheimer’s disease is a grim reality for many people as they age, with one in 10 U.S. seniors older than 65 diagnosed with some form of dementia related to the ailment, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Nothing on the market can effectively treat the disease, let alone halt its relentless progress, so a working therapy is akin to the holy grail for drugmakers and their investors. Against this backdrop, Eli Lilly & Co. released data on Monday from a small phase II clinical trial for its antibody drug, called donanemab, that showed significant slowing of decline for patients in early stages of the disease, compared with those who received a placebo. This was a surprise and investors cheered the news, sending Lilly’s shares up more than 11% and adding almost $20 billion to the company’s market value. Shares of Biogen Inc., which is working on an Alzheimer’s drug targeting similar problems in the brain as Lilly’s treatment, also got a boost. Is this reaction justified? Sadly, as much as I would love to say yes, the answer is no, not yet. Here is why. (Sam Fazeli , 1/11)