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COVID-19 vaccines might not be distributed fairly
COVID-19 vaccines might not be distributed fairlyPfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has been listed in the UK, and other companies such as Moderna and AstraZeneca are also waiting for the listing day. Who is the priority group for vaccination? Statnews website published expert analysis saying that vaccination cannot be distributed fairly and there will be “black deal”.
During Thanksgiving, Bill Lang, medical director of WorldClinic, a high-end private clinic in the United States, said that in the previous COVID-19 testing and treatment process, athletes, politicians, rich people, and people with a wide range of connections have managed to get special treatment. They can get priority testing. Give priority to unapproved treatment. It can be seen that they will definitely get priority in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The current Pfizer vaccine is under unified national management due to the shortage of quantities and harsh ultra-low temperature storage conditions. A few months later, the most terrible thing is about to happen. Vaccines do not require ultra-low temperature storage conditions and have higher accessibility. Then pharmacies and clinics will have vaccine distribution problems. Anything that can save or protect lives, once the supply exceeds demand, it will definitely create a black market transaction.
The principle of priority distribution of vaccines is to provide “basic industry personnel”, “high-risk workers”, and “high-risk populations”. Then, certain influential industries in the distribution process can be defined as “priority” and can be used for industry lobbying. The medical profession is under pressure to open channels for them, or directly through bribery.
There is also the simplest and most rude one is “steal”. Although the vaccine transportation has GPS positioning, it is not impossible. The creativity of criminals is limitless. They can use a forklift to unload a whole truck of vaccines for black market transactions. There must be a way to do it.
Lang said that his clinic will not obtain vaccines in an unethical manner, but within the broader system, jump-in is inevitable.
For example, “people in basic industries” will be given priority to get vaccinations, but what exactly is “basic” provides a way for some influential industries to fight for priority. Originally, this definition is aimed at the most basic service groups such as salespersons, drivers, and transportation workers, especially people of color, who are the hardest hit by the virus and need priority immunization. However, the National Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency and the governments of New York, Illinois, Colorado, and California require that financial services workers are also defined as basic industry workers. In addition to the financial industry, bank tellers are also defined as high-risk groups.
So, this definition has covered all people who can manipulate the flow of funds, including exchanges, trading floors, trading operations, and bank personnel. New York and Illinois have the broadest definitions in this regard, because these two states are the bases of many financial services industries.
The most interesting thing is that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is also defined as a basic industry company. Florida has announced that WWE can operate normally during the epidemic. WWE and the Florida Department of Health did not respond to the topic of whether the WWE industry should give priority to vaccination.
Various industries with strong backgrounds may follow this example and lobby to define what a “basic industry” is.
Another loophole that grabs priority for vaccination is the “high-risk group”. Smokers, moderate to severe asthma, and high blood pressure all fall into this category. Jonathan Cushing, director of the Transparency International Health Initiative, a non-profit organization that focuses on global corruption, said that this provides doctors with room for adjustment. For example, some patients with mild asthma can be evaluated as severe so that they can give priority to vaccination.
The profits of the US healthcare industry make it particularly prone to “distortion”. This is a market economy industry. Every doctor wants to win over his own customers. Doctors can ensure that wealthy patients have priority in vaccination. Taking into account the need to protect the privacy of patients, the immunization website will only require everyone to declare whether they have a certain related disease, without having to disclose the details, or require the doctor to provide a certificate, only the doctor’s subjective judgment.
The US medical system is often designed to provide preferential treatment to the rich or powerful. This is not difficult because the system is designed to take advantage of these key populations. They don’t have to do “sinister” things, all they have to do is to enter the system. For example, some powerful companies have their own medical systems that are responsible for the health care of company executives. Then, they can get the vaccination through their own medical system.
Although there is state oversight of vaccine distribution, state-level legislative review agencies are much looser than the state. Vaccines will eventually enter pharmacies and clinics in every state. These are the most vulnerable links in the distribution chain. When they enter local entities, everything can happen. A high-demand, life-saving vaccine supply will inevitably be abused.
Some people will really cross the line, especially will members of Congress give priority to vaccination? Think about President Trump and Chris Christie (the former Governor of New Jersey, who was infected at the White House meeting at the end of September), who gave priority to using unmarketed immunotherapy to treat COVID-19 pneumonia. At this point, you can only blink and say “the reality is like this”.
Strengthen the review of vaccine distribution by departments at all levels, can the distribution of vaccine be regulated? Lang said that this is definitely difficult. If too many inefficient inspections and reviews are added to each individual, it will add too much bureaucratic influence to the vaccination process. While fairness cannot be guaranteed, efficiency is greatly reduced.
According to media reports, the current vaccines developed by major pharmaceutical companies in the world have not yet been sold but they have been purchased by developed countries. Canada ranks first in the world with 9 doses per capita, and more than 6 doses per capita in the United States and Britain. This is the case internationally, let alone a certain country?