Some public health officials are expressing concern that individuals will be able to bypass guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine early, while others don’t see it as a problem worth fretting over.
Frontline health care workers and vulnerable populations, such as those over 65 and others with compromised immune systems, are prioritized to first receive the inoculation against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
As Pfizer’s vaccine appears within days of approval for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration and distribution, targeting those groups should be easy with limiting doses available through limited outlets. But as more and more vaccine becomes available through more wider dispensing methods, it would seemingly become easier to cut ahead in the line.
''Eventually you'll get to the point where there’s a lot of providers and distribution points involved in this plan, and it’s going to be harder and harder to ensure you adhere strictly to these priority groups,'' Axios quoted Josh Michaud, the associate director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. ''I’m sure there will be a point where we see line jumping.
''As far as enforcement, states will try to direct vaccines as best as they can to reach the populations they want to, but once they’re at those distribution points, it’s hard to control this process.''
Eric Toner, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, agreed that strict adherence to the guidelines and prioritization protocols will not be enforced.
''I think we do have to depend to a significant extent on people’s honesty, and to some extent, it’s an honor system,'' he said. ''You can check age … but the rest of it you really can’t.''
But with polls showing only half of Americans wanting to get the vaccine, it’s not his first concern.
''Of all the things that are keeping me awake at night, this is not one of them,'' he said. ''If the order in which some people get vaccinated is different than the ideal, at least some people are getting vaccinated. I’d rather have people so eager to get a vaccine that they find a way to game the system than people not wanting to get vaccinated.''
Bryan Mroz, the acting assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of Health, agreed.
''That’s a problem I kind of want to have — people lined up to get vaccinated,'' he said.
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