Commentary: The vaccine predicament and its effect upon us

Commentary: The vaccine predicament and its effect upon us
February 24
12:49 2021

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

During my lifetime, I have had enough “shots in my arm.” All of them accomplished the desired goal, which was to keep me from getting sick.

I did not think much about them, only that I was better off taking them. Convincing me to take them was not important. I saw taking them as a matter of rational self-interest.

Today, America is still struggling daily with COVID-19. It has destroyed families and left voids in our humanity. The statistics from us dying from it are daunting. We are paralyzed with fear and apprehension.

To curb our desperation and fragile state, we now have a vaccine. It has been up and running for some months now. At first, we were leery of the vaccine, but now we are cheering the vaccine.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has yet to be approved; however, I believe in the next two months that it will be approved. There are mixed reports about it being one or two shots. I think the variants that are here will determine the dosage.

There has been a 57% increase in vaccinations since the Biden administration. This is good news for America.

In the past, vaccine distribution was disjointed and disappointing. According to Bloomberg News, “In the U.S. more Americans have now received at least one dose than have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. So far, 59.1 million doses have been given, according to a state-by-state tally. In the last week, an average of 1.58 million doses per day were administered.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci and medical experts said that in order to return to some sense of normal living, at least 75% of the U.S. population would have to be vaccinated.

Some states, like New Mexico, Massachusetts, and West Virginia, are further along in having their citizens receive the vaccine. I suspect over the coming months, more states will be able to make that claim, too.

First responders were the first to get the vaccine and rightfully so. Now more older Americans and teachers are getting the vaccine. The CDC says that schools can reopen following specific guidelines. We know what they are.

It has become a no-brainer to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash our hands.

To add to the vaccine distribution woes, there was a winter storm that affected much of the country last week. As a result, it was nearly impossible in some communities to get the vaccine.

Texas, for example, has seen many of its citizens without power and water for a little over a week.

This winter surge delayed a shipment of approximately 6 million doses of the vaccine. Appointments could not be kept, so now we will have to play catch up. Reports say more than 2,000 vaccination sites were in areas where power was out. This winter storm came at the worst possible time.

Andy Slavitt, senior adviser on the White House COVID-19 Response Team said, “If we all work together, from the factory all the way to the vaccinators, we will make up for it in the coming week.”

To create more testing sites, the federal government will work with the states of Pennsylvania and Florida. It is my thinking that more of these alliances will be formed with other states.

These weeks and months will be key as more vaccines become available. We in turn must be vaccine ambassadors. If we know family members and friends who have not taken the vaccine, we must encourage them to do so.

I am ready to be an ambassador. Are you?

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