Ohio Healthcare Worker Sees a Slow Rollout of the Coronavirus Vaccine
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It's been one month since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Exactly one week later, emergency use authorization was issued for the Moderna vaccine.
While waiting for those much-needed greenlights, the Ohio government prepared a plan for vaccine rollout, with healthcare workers and the elderly at the top of the list to receive the vaccines. Dr. Rosalind Jackson operates her own practice at Sycamore Medical Center in Miamisburg and received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine on December 26. She says she signed up to receive the vaccine through her hospital system but has yet to hear back, "So I took things on my own and went and got a vaccine through Dayton Public Health because they're offering the vaccinations for those who are in the medical field."
Dr. Jackson says getting vaccinated through Dayton Public Health was an easy process, "It was at the Dayton Convention Center. It was a very nice setup. I took some of my clinical staff with me as well, and we all received the vaccine. And luckily, I shared that link with other physicians who may not have been affiliated with a hospital system and they, too, were able to get the vaccine and have their staff vaccinated as well."
Though vaccines are a critical weapon in the fight against the global pandemic, the United States has generally seen a slow rate of dissemination. As of January 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 6.5 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine, a stark contrast to the 20 million doses that were projected to be administered by the end of 2020, per the Department of Health & Human Services' Operation Warp Speed. And with December being the deadliest month of the pandemic thus far, the pressure is growing.
"We anticipated to have way more people vaccinated at this point. And it's very concerning. I don't know where the glitches are or what's the bottleneck in this process. Maybe it is just being prepared to handle such a heavy load," said Dr. Jackson.
In an interview with NPR, the country's leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci attributed the snail-like progress to the holiday period. After all, the Pfizer vaccine was approved just days before Christmas, "I think it would be fair to just observe what happens in the next couple of weeks. If we don't catch up on what the original goal was, then we really need to make some changes about what we're doing."
For many in Dr. Jackson's position, it has been a waiting game. Her practice has been approved to receive doses of the vaccine for distribution, "Every day I'm looking to see, like when I can anticipate the arrival of the vaccine to the office. I think it's going to take an effort on all health care workers, hospitals, drugstores to really get this out."