LETTER from RICHARD STERNBERG
I wish I had the time, stamina, and column inches to write an article daily. That’s how fast the news is coming.
Since last week, Pfizer has begun distribution and vaccinations around the nation, the Moderna vaccine has been approved and it will start distribution by the time you read this, with inoculations going into arms probably by Thursday the 24th.
The 350 Tier One healthcare workers from Bassett Healthcare will have been inoculated, though they all had to travel to either Utica or Elmira to receive the network’s allotted doses, according to a Bassett spokesman. They will get the Pfizer vaccine.
According to the Governor, we can expect more doses in the weeks ahead.
All I want for Christmas is my two vaccines.
There have been some surprises with the roll out. It seems some five dose vials of the Pfizer vaccine actually contain six doses. On the other hand, the logistics have not gone quite as well as we were told to expect. I guess that’s not a surprise.
In the United States, the priority for the order of who gets the vaccine has been announced.
Tier One-A is front-line healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff.
Tier One-B is essential workers.
Tier One-C is high risk individuals which includes those over 60 or 65 depending on their state of residence and those with other risk factors.
After that I am not sure but it seems to be everyone else lumped together. It is not clear when and if minors will get the vaccinations, since they haven’t been tested in those under 16.
There has been some controversy over the 1-B group, not so much if essential workers should get it next, but who is an essential worker.
Overall, there are probably more than 20-30 million people in this category in the United States: police, fire, EMS, teachers, other healthcare workers who interact with the general public, grocery store workers, food processing plant workers, certain other government employees, and many others.
As someone with eight risk factors and counting, I am willing to wait my turn for most of these, but unfortunately there will be some who get moved up the list but probably don’t deserve it.
For example, an attorney friend of mine in New Jersey says they are classified as essential workers.
Shakespeare would definitely not agree. Neither do I. Some yes, but all of them? Corporate attorneys who haven’t been in a courtroom in decades and only represent clients who can pay them more than $500/hour?
There are other vaccines coming out soon. Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson, AstroZenica/Oxford, and Novavax are among those in stage three testing in the USA that may be able to get FDA approval.
China and Russia have both approved their own vaccines and are inoculating people at home and overseas.
The entire United Arab Emirates’ Tour de France winning cycling team has been inoculated with the Chinese Sinopharma vaccine.
Hopefully the vaccines from outside North America and Europe will also generate honest, reproducible data. We need every dose that can be produced that works. There are seven billion people in the world and frankly most of them would benefit by being vaccinated.
In the meantime, we can decrease deaths and slow down progression of the disease with the same simple methods that I have been advocating for nine months. (Yes, it’s that long.) Wear a mask, socially distance, don’t get lackadaisical just because you know some else well.
My god-daughter and her husband both contracted it from their 11-month-old. All are well. We just lost an Otsego citizen who caught COVID from a group home worker who contracted it at a Thanksgiving dinner.
Small group, known people. But someone died because of it. We are so close, people: Stay the course (and any other cliché you can think of).
Merry Christmas and I wish everyone a New Year that at least begins to approach sanity.