States should decide on vaccine order
As the nation gets closer to having an effective vaccine to protect against COVID-19, states are coming up with plans for who will get the first doses of the vaccine. As you may guess, there are many different plans as states weigh their own individual needs.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that states are drafting priority plans since the initial stock of vaccine will be limited by production and distribution limitations.
Everyone agrees that health care workers in hospitals and long-term health facilities need to receive the first doses. Nursing home residents, who are most at risk from the virus, should also be at the front of the line.
Police, fire, ambulance workers and teachers are also essential and should be near the top of the line.
But after that, states are coming up with their own priorities, as they should. They know where the risk is and where the vaccine will have the most impact.
Many states are weighing the economic impact, looking to protect workers in their essential industries. That is where each state’s plan will start looking different.
Colorado, which relies heavily on the ski resort industry, would protect ski resort workers who often live in close quarters during the season.
Arkansas, where poultry processing plant workers have borne the brunt of the pandemic, would protect them to help one of its top industries.
These decisions are important, as evidenced by the growing number of cases and deaths. The U.S. saw 3,157 deaths, a new record, on Wednesday alone. That’s more than the number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks, a sobering statistic we can all understand.
Until the amount of vaccine being produced can reach amounts needed for full distribution, the rest of us may have to wait a while longer.