Having just had an operation at Mass General earlier this week, I was pleased to hear that the nurses I met had their first vaccination. But then I checked the Boston Globe and Med Page Today on our local progress in relation to my own turn. Worth a discussion and feedback on your own locality.
This is a manufactured problem. The CDC, states, and hospitals should have distinguished frontline COVID-19 workers from everyone who has a job connected to healthcare. As University of Iowa immunologist and CDC committee member Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD, told the New York Times, the CDC never intended to include workers who don’t interact with patients, like administrators and graduate students, in the first tier of priority vaccinations. Yet weeks after the FDA authorized the life-saving vaccine, hospitals like Brigham & Women’s Hospitals, Massachusetts General Hospital, Columbia, and Vanderbilt raced to give the vaccine to young non-patient-facing students and staff. Many of those staff now realize the injustice in their allocation and admit they feel terrible displacing a vulnerable American in the vaccine line. Hospital leaders: this is a disgrace to our great profession. You should have known better.
This allocation crisis is not unexpected given the growing divide between hospital administrators and frontline physicians. Instead of convening the great medical minds on their staff, many hospitals took the lazy path of relying on the government to tell them what to do, even though the government guidance was purely advisory and not legally binding. It turned out to be late guidance and bad guidance. A simple strategy of allocating the vaccine by age, as the U.K. is doing, would have resulted in far less decision paralysis and misallocation. It would also have saved more American lives.”T
A simple strategy of allocating the vaccine by age, as the U.K. is doing, would have resulted in far less decision paralysis and misallocation. It would also have saved more American lives.