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    • #16233
      Bailey Vincent

      I talked a bit about COVID yesterday and how it’s impacted colleagues and friends, but I haven’t talked much about my frustrations with vaccine access. Okay, well I have (if you count this column) but I don’t want to be one of those people complaining because they didn’t get Wonka’s golden ticket yet, you know?

      Yesterday I got an email through my local health department (where I’m on a list to hopefully get notified if resources become available, since my CF clinic has run out) saying that CVS will start carrying vaccines in some states. I woke up super early at the time given to see if I could grab a slot in the “lottery”… only to find that I had to check a box verifying I’m 65 years or older, and another box saying I’m telling the truth.

      Of course I’m not going to lie, but I did think I fell under the same category as 65+ in my region (according to my local health department) because of high-risk illness. Now, here is another checklist excluding this option, and making me realize the rules are as a confusing and non-uniform as ever.

      Do you think that rules for the vaccine should be universal across states or countries?

      Do you think that high risk individuals should come above, behind or along with 65+?

      I’m curious to know your take on this issue, although I am trying to not compare and simply celebrate those who are 65+ and now have access.

    • #16234
      Jenny Livingston

      Bailey, I can understand your frustration and this was part of the reason I was hesitant to share the news when I got my first dose. It didn’t (and still doesn’t) seem “fair.” I didn’t it because of my own health or vulnerability. I got it because it was an “extra” dose meant for someone else who didn’t want it.

      I’ve been so upset that most of my high-risk friends have not been prioritized. The people who have diligently stayed home, taken precautions, missed out on so much this past year, and are at the highest risk levels for complications from this virus are now being told to wait a bit longer. It’s so maddening.

      I like the idea of state-controlled rollouts rather than federal guidelines. I think that gives each state the freedom to distribute it in a way that works best for their populations. But I wish that there were more focus on comorbidities, etc. rather than simply age.

      In a recent reply, I said that I was impressed with how my state has handled vaccine rollout. We started by vaccinating “essential employees” (which is actually a term I hate, and I could go on an on about my thoughts about who and what an essential employee really is) and the elderly. Now, the age limit has been lowered and an entire list of comorbidities have been added, including cystic fibrosis. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that our governor has a brother and sister with CF, since the guidelines in many other states don’t seem to list CF at all.


      All of this to say, I am endlessly frustrated with the process. I don’t claim to know how I’d do it any differently or better, but the lack of focus on disabled and chronically ill or otherwise vulnerable people has been disheartening to say the least. While each and every dose given is cause for celebration (as you mentioned) I think it’s both okay and totally normal to also experience frustration and all kinds of other emotions.

    • #16241
      Paul met Debbie

      It is indeed chaotic, which is also caused by a lack of a clear purpose.
      For instance: (in the Netherlands, but this will probably go for other countries as well)

      – If we want to minimize covid deaths and pressure on ICU, we have to prioritize the eldest people, those in the care homes and the obese men of 50 years and older. They account for 60% of deaths and 60% of the ICU population and are most eligible to die from covid;
      – If we want to minimize covid infectional spread, we have to prioritize children, and the younger and active people that have jobs and many contacts with others.
      – If we want to protect healthcare availability, we have to prioritize doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who are in the frontline of covid-care;
      – If we want to protect those with comorbidities, we have to prioritize those specific groups of patients.
      – etc.

      These different angles of attack (and one can think of many more) lead to different strategies and they don’t mix well. So in practice we see, influenced by a mix of medical, scientific, social and political motives, the mushrooming of all kinds of weird prioritizations that can differ from country to country, state to state, month to month. Hence the chaos. In the past 3 months, our “place on the list”, the sort of vaccine as well as the expected start date of vaccination has changed several times.

      It’s not pretty, it’s far from optimal, but this is how it goes. And then there is also the shortage of vaccine delivery, that forces us to work with vaccines that are available, but not necessarily the best suited for the group that is currently targeted. Society has become too complex to handle. There you go.

      Some countries have stocked up on vaccines to vaccinate everyone of their citizes 4 times over, other countries have found out that no vaccines will be available for them until 2023 (if ever).

      No single citizen (not even the doctors) seem to have any say in this process so we must just wait and see what is offered to us. In the end of course, we are free to reject the offer and wait for a better situation, although it would mean a prolongation of the quarantine and not everyone can stand this for all kinds of reasons. But I might not want to be vaccinated with a vaccine that is not tested on my specific health or age profile, that has a tested effectivity (on healthy young volunteers) of 60% and needs two shots, the second of which has been delayed policy-wise beyond the manufacturers (and tested) advice because of shortage of supply, while it is even uncertain whether this second shot will be available even after this extended term. That’s what we are looking at currently in our country (in my case). Which is a “good” situation, because as said, many countries will not have vaccines at all for a long time to go.

      In a couple of years we might see a (twice) yearly covid-cocktail-vaccine, carefully designed to protect for the most current covid strains, specially adapted for every continent, readily available and covered by healthcare for everyone or for specific risk-groups. But we are only in the first phase of this pandemic and things are not running smooth at all. We will have to wait and see. No one seems to know what is best for everyone, and at the same time everyone seems to know what is best for him/her.

      Indeed: “Sigh”.

    • #16245

      Are people 65 and older getting prioritized because they are high risk? Of course. So what makes their high risk “better” than the high risk of something like CF? I do not begrudge the 65 or older crowd for being eligible ahead of someone with CF or some other condition that makes them high risk, I just wonder how the distinction is being made. As for me, I’ll take the shot whenever it is offered to me regardless of who has or hasn’t gotten one because, well, what other option do I have.

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