Viewpoints: Why Is Tech Suddenly Failing Us?; Deployment Strategies For J&J Shots Are Dangerously Wrong
Opinion writers share their thoughts on the vaccination rollout.
The New York Times:
Can We Put An End To The Vaccine Hunger Games?
Like many people, I took to social media last week to complain about how online reservations for vaccinations are being bungled across the country, just as more Americans are becoming eligible for a jab. I also made a testy call to the manager, so to speak, when I dialed up executives at Microsoft, which is one of the many vendors hired by state and local governments to set up the online appointment systems. I wanted them to explain why the website they built for Washington D.C., where I live, felt like the 1980s was calling and wanted its internet back. My agitation — along with all the frustration expressed by many other residents of the District of Columbia — appears to have gotten results. (Kara Swisher, 3/5)
Don't Let Bureaucracy Constrict The Supply Of Covid-19 Vaccines
Vaccination, particularly for the most vulnerable Americans, is the surest way for us to overcome the Covid-19 crisis. As physicians, we celebrate the light at the end of the tunnel, in large part due to Operation Warp Speed. But as members of Congress, we are becoming increasingly concerned that federal bureaucracy continues to stand in the way of rapid, widespread administration of Covid-19 vaccines. The nation has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about Covid-19 over the past year. Similarly, over the past few weeks, the scientific community has published encouraging analyses about the vaccines that are playing a starring role in leading us out of this crisis. Mountains of real-world evidence are showing that the two mRNA vaccines authorized by the FDA — the first made by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Moderna, both of which are supposed to be administered as a two-dose regimen — will provide substantial protection against Covid-19 even after only one dose. (Andy Harris, Greg Murphy and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, 3/7)
The Baltimore Sun:
Giving Disabled People Vaccine Priority A Good Start, But More Is Needed
Kudos to the state of Maryland for making Americans with disabilities a priority when it comes to giving out the COVID-19 vaccination, but that’s only part of the solution to meeting the needs of a community that has become isolated during the virus (”They are prioritized for COVID vaccines. But some Marylanders with disabilities still facing access hurdles,” March 3). Often, members of the disability community don’t have access to means to get the information necessary to make an appointment for a shot or the ability to go to a vaccination site. Every day, National Telecommuting Institute, a nonprofit organization, helps Americans with disabilities find jobs, and we know about the obstacles they face. Anything that can be done to make accessibility a priority is welcome. (Alan Hubbard, 3/5)
Rise Of Variants Underscores Importance Of COVID-19 Vaccination
New variants of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have appeared to spread more easily. Some may cause more serious disease. Fortunately, current vaccines appear to be at least partially effective against these variants. The best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer will get infected. This, in turn, will reduce the risk of new, deadlier variants arising and taking over. In addition to working as a University of Washington Medicine infectious disease specialist, I collaborate with an international team on detecting new infectious disease threats, including new variants of known pathogens. The program, called United World Antiviral Research Network (UWARN), has experts at research centers in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. We set up the program in 2019 because of concern that the world’s ability to respond to pandemic threats was too slow and uncoordinated. Unfortunately, 2020 proved that to be correct. (Wes Van Voorhis, 3/7)
The Washington Post:
The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Works Great For Everyone. It’s A Perfect Match For Young Adults.
The newest vaccine against the coronavirus brings America’s public health officials to a very delicate point. Deploying the new shots without careful planning could backfire in ways highly damaging to the fight against the pandemic. By most measures, the one-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is a gem. It has performed well in clinical trials, proving especially effective against the most severe cases, the ones that put patients into the ICU — if not the morgue. It appears to do well against genetic variants of the virus. Unlike the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech that received earlier approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the J&J vaccine requires only one visit to a health-care provider, rather than two. It also deploys a different technology against the disease, allowing it to be preserved in ordinary refrigerators rather than super-cold freezers. (David Von Drehle, 3/5)