Where Do Vaccine Doses Go, and Who Gets Them? The Algorithms Decide

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Islam News – U.S. health officials are optimistic that the supply of vaccines and the rate of vaccination will steadily increase, according to the New York Times. But as algorithms decide where vaccines go and who gets them, Americans are experiencing wide disparities in access. 

Only about 11 percent of Americans have received one or two doses of a vaccine, leaving millions more to deal with the uncertainty and anxiety that have come to define the rollout. In search of vaccines, people are scrolling through crashing websites at 3 a.m., driving 300 miles in the snow or hanging around grocery store pharmacies for hours on end.

Catherine Sharp, a freelance photographer in Brooklyn, has been trying to score vaccines for her father in New York and her mother in Illinois. “It was like a sneaker drop,” she told my colleague Jennifer Steinhauer. “It’s just impossible.”

In the meantime, both Catherine and her mother contracted the virus; her mother, a cancer survivor, was hospitalized. “This is my worst nightmare,” she said. “I just don’t understand the algorithm. A good 40 percent of my time is spent on this. I wake up, I get my coffee and say, “I’ve got to do this.’”

Grocery store workers across the country are also frustrated with the rollout. After 10 exhausting months of working during the pandemic, they initially felt encouraged by the federal government’s guidelines that prioritized frontline workers. But even as the variants make their work more dangerous, only 13 states have started specifically vaccinating grocery workers.

“Society in general is giving a very mixed message, celebrating grocery workers as essential early in the pandemic and now, less than a year later, putting grocery workers at the end of the queue,” said Marc Jones, the chief executive of an employee-owned grocery chain.

Despite the horror stories and headaches, some vaccination sites have managed to inoculate people at a brisk pace — but even those successes have had unintended consequences.

One clinic in Georgia worked so quickly that by the end of December it had vaccinated every health care worker, nursing home resident and staff member in the area who wanted a shot. But when it moved on to the next batch of eligible people — which includes essential workers like teachers — Georgia health officials suspended the clinic from the state’s vaccine program for six months for violating state guidelines.

Source: The New York Times

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