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Monday, January 4, 2021

A Phunny Thing Happened On The Way To Vaccination

CP: It's time for another "Good Idea/Bad Idea".
MICE ELF: Ooh. I love these. What's today's topic?
CP: COVID Vaccinations. 
ME: Lame. 
CP: Hear me out on this one. 
MICE ELF: The floor is yours. 
CP: GOOD IDEA: Utilising pharmacists in the campaign to inoculate the public. 
ME: I agree. It's about time we were seen as the healthcare professionals we are and valued for the service we can provide. 
CP: Except this comes on the heels of flu shot season so everyone has this opinion that's it's just a walk-up-and-ask-and-wait-and-be-out-in-five-minutes sort of campaign. It's not as if we don't have other work to do.
MICE ELF: I'm all in favour of pharmacists-as-immunizers. Where is the issue? 
CP: BAD IDEA: Giving the contracts to the two largest pharmacy chains in the country to control distribution. It has been nothing short of a train wreck according to most media and anecdotal reports. 
ME: Why is that bad? They collectively own nearly 20,000 stores across the country. Surely they have the presence and capacity to distribute and administer vaccines on the necessary scale? Surely? Right? 
CP: When was the last time you spoke with a retail pharmacist at one of these locations? 
MICE ELF: Only what I read on Facebook.
CP: Ask any retail pharmacist if they believe their employer, especially the chains, have enough staff to cover the normal day-to-day operations of their stores. The NUMBER ONE COMPLAINT against these companies is that they are woefully, dangerously understaffed. Yet these are the hands into which we placed this critical task? If ever there were a more government move than that, I can't think of one. 
ME: You're saying they focused on big business? 
MICE ELF: To a point, it played a part, certainly. 
CP: My questions are these:
-Why are we not following the model of previous, successful campaigns (Polio)?
-Why, with months to plan this rollout, did the chains not train their techs and hire more staff sooner?
-Why, with months to plan this rollout, did counties not assemble teams of all personnel who could administer vaccines so they could administer them in a more logical, centralised manner?
-Why are we not using the National Guard to help coordinate and facilitate administration (it's worked before.)? <and no, fear is not a good excuse in case someone wishes to use that.>
-Why are we not using schools or stadiums for large groups of people? (Imagine social distancing at an indoor NFL stadium or NBA arena with The Guard there to organize crowds by zip code on certain dates and times. Obviously, once we get past the LTC/1A stage.)
-Why were clinics not scheduled by county departments of Health and submitted to "The Big Deuce (cvs and wag's)" in a better manner? (Again, they had months to strategise/organise this.)
ME: So you're saying they done messed up?
CP: Yes. While other countries are doing a somewhat better job at jabs than we are, we should be doing far better. Handing the reins to "The Big Deuce" was a mistake. I have friends who are nurses and pharmacists who are trying to apply, today, with these companies to join the jab list but are having trouble getting responses. Former techs who now work there report they are to undergo training for administration "soon". Reports from phriends who are working these clinics have not been positive either; "disorganized", "chaotic", "ridiculous", and "phuckery at its phinest" were a phew of the words/phrases I heard recently. 
ME: It's still early. 
CP: And it's a train wreck. 
MICE ELF: Well you can't complain about the government rewarding big business and calling it a mistake then suggesting they roll out The Guard. 
CP: There's a difference between "here's millions of dollars to be in charge of this" and "hey, here's some help setting up tents and organization since, you know, that's one of the things at which we excel here at home". 
ME: The US had administered 4.2 million jabs so far, as of 1/2/21. That is woefully inadequate considering the number of doses available. 
MICE ELF: And the number going to waste. 
CP: Yes. I know. There was uncertainty as to whom would receive doses and how many would be allocated. But. . . there needed to be plans in place and relying on these retail giants was a mistake. Period. 
I hope it improves.
I'm not optimistic today. 
I managed to receive a jab for myself. 
It wasn't easy to obtain. 
We can't give shots to people who don't want them, but we need to be able to administer them to those who do. 
And The Big Deuce dropped the load here.

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