This past week, Jo Daviess County residents deluged the Jo Daviess County Health Department with calls and emails. These local residents eagerly wanted the COVID-19 vaccine.
The calls and emails are a double-edged sword. They are an indication of public acceptance of vaccination. That’s the good side of the sword. It also illuminates issues involved with the vaccine’s rollout including supply which is woefully short of what is needed here in Jo Daviess County and many other places.
To prove this point, we need to share vaccine math and how it can do nothing but burst the bubble of high hopes unless the situation changes. To immunize 80 percent of the county’s population, it’s necessary to fully vaccinate 16,000 Jo Daviess County residents. With either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, 32,000 doses are needed. The Jo Daviess County Health Department has been receiving 100 doses a week and is now expecting to receive 200 doses weekly. At the rate of 200 doses a week, it’ll take just over three years to immunize 16,000 people.
That’s not acceptable. Even putting 100 doses into arms every day, seven days a week would take 46 weeks. Two hundred vaccinations daily, which would take 23 weeks, is more acceptable in our opinion.
This can only happen if the Jo Daviess County Health Department begins receiving ever-greater quantities of the vaccine and can plan, in advance, on receiving larger quantities.
The success of a nationwide vaccination program rests on the shoulders of federal and state governments as well as local authorities all working in partnership in order to get this vaccine in the arms of the American people.
The federal government–which has already invested billions of dollars into the development of the vaccine–needs to use every tool possible to ensure that enough vaccine is manufactured and that the vaccine, along with personal protective gear, needles and syringes, is distributed to the states.
The fact that there are two other vaccines nearing the end of testing phases, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZenica, will augment the country’s supply of vaccine.
If the states have a clearer idea of vaccine shipments from the federal government, the states can then better set clearer expectations with local authorities and ensure ever-increasing deliveries of the vaccine.
Local authorities–who have years upon years of providing immunizations to the people they serve–have the responsibility of getting the vaccine into the arms of local residents and doing so in efficient ways from registration to the actual vaccination without forcing people to wait on hold for three or more hours or wait in line before finding out the vaccine supply is gone, as has happened in other parts of the country.
This is a moment in time when federal and state government along with local authorities have the opportunity to shine. Through their timely and dedicated efforts, the American people can be vaccinated.
We can think of no better economic stimulus than this.