Let’s vaccinate everyone we can!!!

The COVID-19 vaccination program has become nauseatingly politicized in the United States. Before Christmas, several governors attacked federal officials in charge of distributing the vaccines saying their states had been shorted the doses they were promised. Today, the states were called out by the president and Brent Giroir (the “COVID-19 testing Czar”) because they have the vaccine but are behind in getting people immunized. This finger pointing has helped no one.

We are, however, falling behind. Overall in the U.S., only 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, instead of the 20 million that federal officials believed would be given by the end of the year.  In the state of Michigan for example, we have received over 300,000 vaccine doses, but administered only 70,000 of them so far. If activity continues at these rates, it will take years to vaccinate the population!

What underlies the shortfall?

There are a number of issues at play here. This is a complex immunization campaign where individuals receiving the vaccine have to be questioned concerning their COVID-19 status and allergies to vaccines. Because of safety concerns, people have to be socially distanced, and immunizations must be followed by a 15-to-30-minute waiting period to ensure there are no adverse events. The vaccine has logistical issues in terms of keeping it frozen. However, it may have been that rolling it out during the Christmas holiday and several snowstorms had a bigger effect. 

Social distancing at a vaccination site.

Health care workers were prioritized first to receive these vaccines, but many had already taken time off between Christmas and New Year’s to care for families (often for the first time since March). This left hospitals short staffed at a time when many places had increased numbers of COVID-19 patients. The sign up methods have been cumbersome. Many folks did not have childcare, and the vaccine sites often did not accommodate people with children. Parking has even been an issue at many of the places where the vaccines are being given! These small problems caused large logistical issues for potential vaccinees. 

How do we fix this?    

First, facilitate appointments for vaccinees in public places with parking and childcare. The University of Michigan is now giving vaccines in the football stadium! Give people time off from work to get vaccinated. Reward them in some significant way.

Controversially, I will also argue that we should be giving a vaccine to whomever wants it, even outside group 1a! If we have openings for vaccinations, get people on a call-in list so we can bring them in and use every appointment and every dose we have available! The CDC priorities should be a guideline, not some Orwellian rule.

I don’t mean that we should be making people stand in line for hours, like they did in Florida, or selling the vaccine to the highest bidder. But if we have 75-year-olds or people with predisposing illnesses, let’s get them on a call in list and get them in now!

Seniors in Florida lining up over night for COVID-19 vaccine.

Every person we vaccinate, regardless of CDC category, is someone who won’t get sick from COVID-19 and overwhelm the health care system. As Nike says, “Just do it!”

Published by jbakerjrblog

Immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy.

13 thoughts on “Let’s vaccinate everyone we can!!!

  1. I am anxiously waiting, and unfortunately probably will be one of those people who are back of the line. But if they’ve got an open spot I can be there in 15 minutes! Where do I sign up!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. This is not working! We are receiving conflicting messaging through the “mychart” options at many health systems. I have now attempted to “signup”/register in 3 health systems- UofM, Beaumont, Trinity-health as I have portals for each. I also “signed up” at the Oakland County Health system. I have received multiple messages – Beaumont told me “You are eligible- wait for an email from with a link this weeks starting – 1/11/2021. Haven’t received that email yet and its 1/13/2021. I have also written to and called the Govenor’s office, Dave Coulter’s office, and several in leadership roles in the Oakland County Health Dept. No one has called back or addressed my suggestions/concerns. I check the Michigan Covid19 Dashboard daily as instructed. https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_103214_103272-547150–,00.html When you download and analyze the spreadsheets it says Oakland County has doses available but, no slots opening up. This is not ok. We need transparency. I hope we stop focusing on the anti-vaxers and address anyone who wants a vaccine!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I so appreciate your perspective. I agree wholeheartedly with the “on call” list. Is there anyway you could promote that at Michigan Medicine? I am ready to sign up. I have been literally in my home since Fev24th-delivery only waiting patiently for my turn. I am a patient of MI medicine with comorbidities.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Florida hotline for appointments is another epic planning failure. As with the early testing appointments the system was overloaded in the first 10 minutes and one cannot get through on the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amazing. In 2020 the one thing we have is mass communication infrastructure, and instead we get ancient technology! They have never hear of a google poll for folks to sign up for potential times? Amazon seems to handle lots of orders each day. Use the private sector (make them donate their services as well!). Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Question on “number of doses” for Michigan residents. They should be saving the second shot for those already inoculated, to ensure the timing for best efficacy is met. Yes? When you talk about the 300,000 doses received and 70,000 inoculated, I think that about 47% of our stock has been used, to include allocation for 2nd shot. (Although, based on the first date given, there could have been a second shot given for some.) Although some might think that we have only used 23% of our available stock. Can you please clarify in your next post? Thank you Marion Griffiths Chelsea MI

    On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 9:24 PM Pandemic Pondering wrote:

    > jbakerjrblog posted: ” The COVID-19 vaccination program has become > nauseatingly politicized in the United States. Before Christmas, several > governors attacked federal officials in charge of distributing the vaccines > saying their states had been shorted the doses they were prom” >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just heard on the news that they students can get the vaccine at the bighouse. Doesn’t seem like UofM is following the CDC guidelines. Is that correct?

    Liked by 1 person

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