US Vaccine Rollout ‘Travesty’

Reports that some low-priority staff at some elite medical institutions are getting coronavirus vaccines ahead of their turn are stirring an ethical outcry, The New York Times reports.

Flouting state and federal guidelines, some administrators and graduate researchers in their 20s are getting vaccinated ahead of high-priority groups. 
“Cronyism and connections have no place in the rollout of this vaccine,” said Ruth Faden, a Johns Hopkins bioethicist. “If we don’t do this right, the consequences could be quite catastrophic, so it’s really critical that people be hypersensitive to the rules of the game here.”
More Problems: Some hospitals say they’ve had to throw doses away, citing the logistical hurdles of finding enough people who fit the strict criteria before the doses expire, CNN reports.

  • Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health,tweeted about an ER doc’s failed attempt to get permission to offer extra vaccines to paramedics and patients before the doses were pitched.

  • Only about 6.7 million of the 22 million vaccine doses distributed to hospitals and pharmacies in the US have made it into arms, according to the CDC.

Heart of the Problem: The absence of a national plan has led to a confusing patchwork of guidelines and logistics, NBC reports.

  • President-Elect Biden called the rollout a travesty on Friday, and pledged to release nearly all doses to the public, Axios reports—focusing on distributing more first doses, despite lingering questions about the risks if second doses are delayed.
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