Viewpoints: Dialysis Clinics Need Vaccine Allocations; Are Faster Human Vaccine Trials Ethical?
Opinion writers weigh in on vaccines and the pandemic lockdown.
Dialysis Clinics Should Be Able To Vaccine Their Patients On Site
One year after Covid-19 was declared a national emergency in the United States, and with more than 525,000 Americans having lost their lives to it so far, the country is finally beginning to make progress toward getting a handle on this terrible pandemic, thanks to the distribution of several highly effective vaccines. The vaccine distribution system seems to be working, despite considerable obstacles. We see it in the way that long-term care residents and staff, who were particularly hard hit over the past year, are experiencing falling infection and mortality rates that dovetail with extensive vaccination efforts. The success within the nation’s long-term care community after a challenging start is largely due to a partnership among stakeholders and the federal government that ensured appropriate allocation of vaccines — and end-to-end support — to protect vulnerable Americans in these facilities. (Donna Christensen, LaVarne A. Burton, and Gary A. Puckrein, 3/19)
Faster Vaccine Trials Could Save Lives Without Sacrificing Ethics
A group of healthy young adults in the United Kingdom have just been infected with COVID-19. They didn’t catch the virus at a crowded pub or a college party. They were infected with it on purpose — in the name of science. This is known as a human challenge trial, and it’s the first such trial for COVID-19 approved anywhere in the world. Researchers hope that by exposing 90 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 to the virus, they’ll discover the smallest amount of exposure necessary to cause an infection and gauge how the immune system mounts its initial defense. Those are difficult questions to answer through conventional trials, in which researchers vaccinate people and then wait months for the subjects to be exposed to the virus as they go about their normal lives. (Bryan Schonfeld and Sam Winter-Levy, 3/18)
Vaccine Skeptics Can Be Won Over By Listening. Herd Immunity From Covid Follows
Ask on the street in Hong Kong if passersby will get the Covid-19 vaccine, and you may hear what I did: “Sometime.” “Maybe.” “No.” Combating this hesitancy here and elsewhere will take more than opprobrium and exhortation. It requires tuning in. A combination of deep-seated distrust in government, ignorance and lack of urgency — in a territory that has kept coronavirus cases low — means Hong Kong is now struggling to get enough residents inoculated. This week, when appointments opened for people over 30, tens of thousands of us rushed to book, picking between Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Many more, out of 5.5 million eligible in a population of 7.5 million, did not. (Clara Ferreira Marques, 3/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Of Course We Had To Lock Down. And It Helped
Friday marks exactly one year since California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order shutting down large swaths of the economy and requiring people to stay home in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of a mysterious and deadly pandemic. It was the first state to take such sweeping action, and it had no historical precedent. Polls that spring found that most Californians — and most Americans — understood the necessity of such drastic measures to contain the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, even though they worried about the economic fallout. The urgency was driven home by the skyrocketing numbers of cases and deaths in New York City. But our understanding has waned over the last 12 months, as the state has endured various iterations of closures and new restrictions on personal movement, and now Californians may well wonder if all the financial hardship and isolation was worth it. (3/19)
Getting Vaccinated Is A Game Changer
I am a 49-year-old man in fairly good shape (although I could always stand to lose a few pounds here and there.) My wife is 37, and in far better shape. Either way, according to federal and state guidelines, we are low risk for suffering complications stemming from Covid-19 and we would likely not have been vaccinated for several months based on our age and health profile; nonetheless, last week we were both able to get our shots by showing up at a vaccination center unannounced. (Arick Wierson, 3/18)
Kansas City Star:
Mass Vaccination At Arrowhead Can’t Disguise The Continuing COVID-19 Mess In Missouri
Gov. Mike Parson is expected in Kansas City Friday to kick off a mass COVID-19 vaccination event. Roughly 8,000 people with appointments are expected to get the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Truman Sports Complex. It’s the first mass inoculation event in Kansas City south of the river, and it comes weeks after the region began begging for the same treatment as many rural communities. However successful the two-day event turns out to be, though, it can’t disguise the continuing failure of the state government, and Parson personally, to equitably and efficiently deliver essential COVID-19 protection. Missouri’s distribution effort remains a mess. (3/18)