June 17, 2021

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Do You Want Your Parents and Grandparents to Get the New Coronavirus Vaccine?

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In “First Coronavirus Vaccines Head to States, Starting Historic Effort,” Abby Goodnough, Reed Abelson and Jan Hoffman write about the hurdles of bringing the vaccine to the public:

At Novant Health in Winston-Salem, N.C., the new ultracold freezers are ready — enough to eventually house more than 500,000 doses of the first coronavirus vaccine approved in the United States.

In Los Angeles, the Cedars-Sinai medical center has installed extra security cameras to protect the secret location of its soon-to-arrive supply of the vaccine.

In Jackson, Miss., the state’s top two health officials are preparing to roll up their own sleeves in the coming days and be the first to get the shots there as cameras roll, hoping to send the message, “We trust it.”

The Food and Drug Administration’s emergency authorization on Friday night of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has set in motion the most ambitious vaccination campaign in the nation’s history, a challenge of staggering proportions choreographed against a backdrop of soaring infection rates and deaths. This weekend, 2.9 million doses of the vaccine are to begin traveling by plane and guarded truck from Pfizer facilities in Michigan and Wisconsin to designated locations, mostly hospitals, in all 50 states.

The article addresses the worries that some Americans have about the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety:

One of the biggest outstanding questions is how many Americans — even in the health care field — will hesitate to get the vaccine; a Pew Research Center poll conducted late last month found that 18 percent said that they would “definitely not” take the vaccine “if it were available today” and that 21 percent said that they would “probably not.”

Many health care workers have been hesitant about this vaccine because it is so new, and they are eager to see hard data before they decide whether to take it. Mindful of their cautiousness, Dr. Drees said that ChristianaCare was emphasizing to its staff that taking the vaccine is voluntary.

“While I know that the risk of getting Covid far outweighs the risk of getting the vaccine,” Dr. Drees said, “meeting workers where they are at is important.”

At Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in South Carolina, Dr. Chris Lombardozzi, the system’s chief medical officer, said he did not anticipate much in the way of resistance from employees. “Our medical staff is completely on board,” he said, noting that he’d had discussions with leaders of several departments. To a person, he said, they say, “I want to be first.”

Their willingness reflects the reality of how hard the pandemic has hit their professions.

“We are so tired of this,” Dr. Lombardozzi said. “We are tired of watching people die. We are tired of not having a cure for an awful, awful virus. We want this to go away.”

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

  • Are you anxious to have any of your family members get vaccinated? What about you: Are you looking forward to getting vaccinated?

  • Most teenagers and young adults will likely be last to receive the vaccine, after groups like health care workers, residents of long-term-care facilities and people with risk factors like diabetes or cancer. Do you support this distribution system that priorities certain groups over others based on perceived need? Do you think it makes sense that young people are near the end of the line? Why?

  • The article states, “One of the biggest outstanding questions is how many Americans — even in the health care field — will hesitate to get the vaccine.” Do you think this hesitancy on the part of some people is warranted? Do you think members of the public who are hesitant will feel reassured as more and more people get vaccinated without any major issues? Why?

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