The COVID 19 pandemic is bad, real bad. It has not only killed hundreds of thousands of humans but it has also had enormous negative impact on the world economy. Several months ago I stated that we would be in trouble until a vaccine is developed, manufactured, dispersed and used by the general population. That day is quickly approaching.
Last week I heard the Democratic presidential candidate state that the COVID vaccine should go to people in need and not to people based on their tax returns. This rhetoric serves no positive purpose. And the politicizing of something as important as getting an effective vaccine into the general population should be off limits to political tripe.
The truth is that there is a plan, a well thought out plan, which shows that America is ready to get the vaccine into the general population. Contrary to the hysteria perpetuated by political jargon, various organizations have given a thumbs up for fairness and containing no bias based on color, creed, religion or economic position.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has a set of guidelines for deploying the COVID 19 vaccine. It is understood that the initial vaccine rollout will not be adequate to initially vaccinate every citizen of America.
Groups that will receive the vaccine are prioritized by: risk of acquiring the infection, risk of mortality, risk of negative society impact if a person becomes infected and people who have a high risk of transmitting the virus. The task force recognized that certain groups within America are more vulnerable; therefore, the vaccination plan takes Fields into consideration that blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are at a disproportionate risk and vaccination will address this anomaly.
With the criteria in place, four phases for the vaccination program have been identified. This addresses the fact that once the vaccine is approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration the amount of vaccine available will not be enough to vaccinate everyone initially. This shortage is despite a massive manufacturing effort to have the vaccine on hand once it is approved. Over time this shortage will eventually disappear.
Phase 1: Vaccinations will go to frontline workers, qualifying seniors and high-risk groups. These are the workers that are saving our lives and keeping us safe. Also, the high-risk senior citizens that are in jeopardy of acquiring the disease plus the at-risk groups mentioned earlier will get the vaccine first. As one healthcare leader stated, “you can build more ventilators, you can’t build more nurses.”
Phase 2: Essential workers, all seniors, people living in group settings. This would be the seniors that live in the nursing homes or assisted living housing. Additionally, essential workers are included in this phase. These are the men and women that keep our country going and insure that America survives.
Phase 3: Kids and other essential workers. These are children and any essential workers not included in Phase 2. This vaccine will allow schools to safely open without fear of contamination. The children are a low risk of fatalities thus they are in phase 3 and not phase 2. They are included in phase 3 and not phase 4 due to the possibility of spreading the disease.
Phase 4. All remaining citizens or residents of America. Any people in America that have not been vaccinated will be vaccinated in Phase 4.
Let’s not politicize the vaccine nor the deployment program. For once in this time of need and support, let’s pull together as one country; or as Coach O has said, “one heartbeat.”
God bless America and God bless our planet.
Tuffy Fields may be reached by emailing thelouisianaexplorer@ yahoo.com.