Viewpoints: Lessons On Vaccinating Everyone, Everywhere; Preventing More Superspreader Events
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and others.
The New York Times:
The Era Of Vaccine Diplomacy Is Here
President Biden has assured Americans that most will be vaccinated by the end of summer. He should also assure them that it is very much in their interest, for reasons of morality, common sense and national interest, to be at the forefront of the global war against that vicious little spiked blob. (2/28)
The Washington Post:
Anti-Vaccine Extremism Is Akin To Domestic Terrorism
Vaccines don’t stop viruses. Vaccinations do. This common public health saying means a vaccine does no good if we can’t get it into people’s arms. Insufficient supplies, natural disasters and bureaucratic mistakes have slowed efforts, but the overall goal of vaccinating a large majority of the U.S. population may ultimately be hampered by the anti-vaccine movement unless steps are taken to limit its impact. Otherwise, America may witness more scenes like the one in Los Angeles on Jan. 30, when a mob of anti-vaccine protesters stormed Dodger Stadium, one of the nation’s largest vaccination centers. These extremists succeeded in temporarily shutting down the site, delaying patients, many of them elderly, from getting their shots. The anti-vaccine activists have told the Los Angeles Times that they intend to keep disrupting vaccination efforts. (Richard Pan, 2/28)
Great Opportunities Ahead For Superspreaders To Do Their Work
Like so many other Americans, we were green with envy as we watched football fans swarming the streets of Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, and again when they clogged the parade route during the team’s victory flotilla a few days later. We, too, wanted to yell and sing and chant and not wear masks and ignore social distancing in the face of a viral pandemic that has killed almost 2.5 million people worldwide and more than 500,000 in the U.S. (Lisa Kearns and Arthur L. Caplan, 2/27)
The Wall Street Journal:
The CIA Can Help Spot The Next Pandemic
Covid proved that international conventions and cooperation can’t be the sole backstop in a crisis. We need more capability for gathering information when there are signs of outbreaks. This means we’ll have to rely on more-traditional national-security tools, including intelligence services. The need is underscored by the challenges the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention faced in getting access to samples of the coronavirus when the outbreak first emerged. China refused to share these samples with the U.S., and the World Health Organization refused to pressure China publicly to release them. This wasn’t the first time in recent years that China has declined to share samples of a dangerous new pathogen. (Scott Gottlieb, 2/28)
Kaiser Family Foundation:
Vaccine Confidence Isn’t The Main Obstacle To Reaching Herd Immunity
The share of the overall population that does not want to get vaccinated is small enough already that the U.S. should be able to reach herd immunity even if Americans who are most reluctant to get the vaccine do not change their minds. New data from our KFF Vaccine Monitor show that 57% of adults are either already vaccinated at least once or plan to get vaccinated as soon as they can, and another 22% are in a “wait and see” group. That group has been shrinking. Think of them like persuadable swing voters. Many are likely to get vaccinated as they see family members and friends and neighbors vaccinated without adverse effect. The “wait and see group” should be the focus of vaccine confidence building efforts, especially in Black and Latino communities where the need for building vaccine confidence and addressing information needs and barriers to access is the most urgent. Seven percent say they will only get vaccinated if they are required to at work and another 15% – the real hard core no vote – say they don’t want to get vaccinated. (Drew Altman, 3/1)
Los Angeles Times:
Why Is It Hard For My Elderly Parents To Get The Vaccine?
When my parents finally received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, I was not ecstatic. Far from it. The overarching feeling was rage. The long road to getting those precious jabs in their arms brought into sharp focus how truly broken our healthcare system can be. And I’m speaking as a daughter and a doctor whose experience in the medical field conferred no advantage. My parents, both pushing 80 and living in the Bay Area, are cancer patients actively undergoing chemotherapy. When California opened up vaccines in mid-January to residents besides healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, we naively waited a day thinking that our HMO — the one with the clever marketing slogan that exhorts its members to prosper — would be contacting high-risk patients over 65. (Dipti S. Barot, 2/27)
The Washington Post:
How We’re Working Toward Racial Equity In Distributing Coronavirus Vaccines In D.C.
The pandemic has laid bare a second public health crisis: the full impact of systemic racism. Though the Health Department certainly did not intend to create a vaccine portal that was more easily accessible to White and privileged residents, that was the outcome. For many Bread for the City clients, reliable access to computers and WiFi as well as digital literacy are challenges. Those who were initially assigned to our medical center for their vaccines also had the time and energy to advocate for themselves. In D.C., those people were overwhelmingly White. Anti-racism is an active state. Passivity allows for systems to be built with privilege centered and defaulted as the mainstream. (George A. Jones, 2/28)
The Washington Post:
Hogan Can’t Explain Away Maryland’s Vaccine Inequities. He Needs A Plan To Fix Them Instead.
The confusing rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Maryland is raising serious concerns of transparency and fairness. Despite the state health department describing its top priority as “equitable vaccine allocations based on county population,” Maryland counties vary widely in the proportion of vaccinated residents, from a high of 12.4 percent receiving two shots in Worcester County to a low of 3.3 percent in Prince George’s County. When the goal is equity but the reality is nearly fourfold variation, there’s a problem. (Joshua M. Sharfstein, Leana S. Wen and Peter Beilenson, 2/27)
The New York Times:
Brazil Is Brilliant At Vaccinations. So What Went Wrong This Time?
In a country where the pandemic has wrought terrible damage — 250,000 people have died, the second-highest total in the world, after the United States, as cities along the Amazon River like Manaus have been abandoned to their fate — the failure amounts to a disaster. So what went wrong? Perhaps we should look to Joe Droplet: He seems to know exactly who to blame. From the beginning, Mr. Bolsonaro’s government downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic. (Vanessa Barbara, 2/28)
Sen. Rand Paul Misunderstands Transgender Medicine. Here’s The Truth
In a tense exchange on Thursday during the Senate confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine, President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health, Sen. Rand Paul exposed his lack of understanding about — or perhaps prejudice against — transgender youth. (Sai Shanthanand Rajagopal and Henna Hundal, 2/26)
Los Angeles Times:
Genderless Potato Heads Are No Cause For Panic
As someone with a three-story pink Barbie Dream House in the middle of her living room, I can tell you that I pay closer attention to gendered children’s toys these days than is normal for a woman my age. I have noticed, for instance, that the profusion of Barbies sprawled across my floor are not always light-complexioned and blond, with impossibly attenuated torsos, as they were when I was little. My 10-year-old niece’s dolls have a range of skin colors and body sizes; some Barbies, you might even say, are thicc, current slang for a full-figured curvy body. This is a fantastic development, and if I need to explain why, you have not been paying attention. Now comes the less important but far more hysteria-inducing news that Hasbro’s Mr. Potato Head brand will be dropping the “Mr.” and become simply … Potato Head. (Robin Abcarian, 2/27)