Better vaccination plan needed to protect Floridians

By Glen Nickerson, Editor and Publisher, The Charlotte Sun, Jan 23, 2021 

Operation Warp Speed was not the greatest choice of names based on the current rollout of the vaccines to the American people. It was an outstanding name for the development of the vaccines worldwide by our scientists and pharmaceutical companies. They amazed us all with their ingenuity and speed of development.

Now that we have vaccines being delivered to our state, we need a better plan to deliver vaccinations into the arms of Floridians. It looks like it’s going to rest on the shoulders of the state and county leaders to get it done right. Sarasota County shifted to a registration system this past Wednesday. The state added six Publix stores as vaccination locations in Charlotte County.

First of all, the distribution plan should never be a system that is similar to general admission to a stadium rock concert for thousands of people. A free-for-all didn’t work for concerts and it’s not working now. We cannot put this type of stress on our seniors. They’ve had a rough year with isolation from friends and family. There has to be a better way.

The distribution needs to be done by age brackets, registration or some type of lottery method. All are better than a mad rush to dial or log on with thousands of people at the same time.

I don’t blame people for being frustrated. I watched my own parents go through the process and declare that they gave up this week. I’ve heard the same from many readers of The Daily Sun and Venice Gondolier this week. They are mad … rightfully so. We can do better.

Once we get the rollout fixed, we need to look ahead at our plan to achieve herd immunity. We need to educate and communicate to the many people who won’t vaccinate.

The younger generations are not going to sit by their computers for hours trying to make vaccination appointments on a government website. There are many young people in our communities who shrug their shoulders or roll their eyes when COVID-19 is discussed. For many of them, it’s like the common cold. For some, it was nothing at all. Many think they’re immune to the virus now. Maybe they are, maybe not. I don’t know. The experts believe that immunity expires at some point.

We also need a solid plan to vaccinate communities of people who may not vaccinate for whatever reason. The Black communities are particularly vulnerable to the virus and we need to make sure they’re a priority. Communities with language barriers need to be reached as well.

We don’t know what lies ahead of us as this deadly virus continues to mutate. Our vaccines may not work well or at all on future strains. It’s too early for anyone to know what’s going to happen with this deadly virus.

The one thing we know for sure, we need herd immunity fast. We’ve already lost more than 400,000 lives in the U.S. to COVID-19 and the experts are predicting another 100,000 may fall victim by the end of February. We need to move fast.