A Closer Look …

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with Anthony Newcombe

Let’s take a closer look …

Topic:  How and who will pay for COVID-19 vaccinations?   

Issue:  Pandemic, vaccination costs, and the risks of ongoing collateral damage in the U.S.  

  1. Terminology 

Pandemic was recently dubbed the “word of the year” by Merriam-Webster (click link either left or below).  Congrats, pandemic, you’ve officially arrived!  However, now the discussion has shifted from acknowledgment of the pandemic (for many – but not all – of us) to another word, Vaccine/Vaccination

Whereas ‘pandemic’ can be delivered to our shores for free, ‘vaccine’ cannot and will not come ashore for the same, wonderful price.  What that leaves us with, is, how and who will be actually paying for the delivery and distribution of each vaccine? And, how much per dose?

  1. U.S. Imports: To me, it’s starting to take the form of most every other import into our country.  Those who have the means will receive the goods, and those who don’t will just have to sit and wait.  And since we’re not talking about the newest G.I. Joe (with the ‘Kung Fu grip’) toy or BMW model, it isn’t quite so simple a formula for success going forward. 
  1. Population/ Distribution: Though it is a good start, it isn’t nearly enough to simply vaccinate health care workers and the elderly or vulnerable.  To be even marginally successful, we’ll need the cooperation and participation of an overwhelming majority of our population – and still have no guarantees of immunity or threats of mutation outbreaks.   
  1. Trust/Distrust of Vaccines: For those of us who are unaware, the U.S. has, well, a murky history with respect to experiments and vaccinations in specific communities. One glaring example is the Tuskeegee experiment (reasons for distrust of vaccines) The experiment, logically so, has inflicted what many believe to be a permanent scar on the trustworthiness of vaccines and applications to our underserved population(s). It won’t be a quick or easy solution to turn this around soon enough to chart a new, universally trusted trajectory for the forthcoming Covid-19 vaccinations.  
  1. Cost: I’ve yet to hear much confirmation of the costs of each of the 100s of millions of vaccinations that are “in the works.”  Is it $20 per dose? $37? More expensive than the above? Excuse me for sounding overly concerned, but I believe this will be the most important element in the decision to take a vaccine or decline.  But, for someone who can’t afford their next meal and has been standing in food distribution lines for the past 6 months, this might as well be $2,000 or more per dose. They simply won’t be able to afford it, they won’t receive the vaccination, and we, in turn, won’t achieve the participation rate we need to kill off this raging virus.  

If we are collectively serious about controlling Covid-19 into 2021, we also need to pay much more attention to the feasibility of it all.  Without a true assessment, we may be kidding ourselves in opportunities for success. Chances are the vaccinations won’t be cheap and distribution won’t be equal. 

The dilemma is, will we somehow make this work for the sake of our nation – and the world too – or will it be viewed in history as one of the epic failures of our time. 

Tell me, What do YOU think? I’m curious to find out…

– A.N.  

Supporting links  

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/word-of-the-year/pandemic

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/tuskegee-study-medical-distrust-research/487439

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-much-will-it-cost-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine