- To boost the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, one doctor suggests that the U.S. leverage the tech industry to increase access to the vaccine.
- This might involve Uber using its vast network of drivers to transport healthcare workers to the elderly.
- To date, the U.S. has vaccinated more than 24.5 million Americans and is averaging 1.27 million vaccinations per day.
The COVID-19 vaccination effort in the U.S. has undeniably improved by leaps and bounds over the past few weeks. After an incredibly slow start, the U.S. is currently vaccinating an average of 1.27 million Americans every single day. What’s more, President Biden is looking for ways to boost that figure up to 1.5 million per day in the near future.
Despite these impressive strides, there are still some logistical challenges with the ongoing vaccine rollout which have created a situation wherein people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine simply can’t get one. In some instances, elderly people who need the vaccine live in rural areas and aren’t close to a vaccination center. In other instances, some people aren’t able or willing to leave their homes.
To this point, CNN recently highlighted the plight of Belma Requejo, an 80-year old woman who lives at home with her 83-year old husband:
They are waiting for a coronavirus vaccine. Every day for a week, her daughter, Maria — who lives in the same household with her two children — has tried to get on the county’s website to make an appointment. And every time, Maria is told there is no availability.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 has ravaged their densely populated section of Long Beach; just last week the disease claimed the life of a neighbor.
Put simply, a wide variety of logistical hurdles are preventing the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to many people who need it the most.
A potentially clever solution, according to Dr. Leo Nissola, would be to leverage the expertise of the tech industry to accelerate vaccination efforts across the country. Nissola also suggests that we should prioritize immediate distribution over the prioritization of the elderly.
Instead of prioritizing the elderly, and expecting them to sign up on online forms, and wait for their appointment, we should release the red tape around the vaccines and allow for every adult over 16 to get the vaccine now.
Uber could drive health care providers to nursing homes, and long term living facilities for surgical measures. Allocating the upcoming single dose vaccine from J&J to those targeted communities, we could have a broader scale vaccination program as soon as March.
It’s worth noting that Nissola isn’t the first person to suggest that we should administer the COVID-19 vaccine on a first-come, first-serve basis. Indeed, some countries have managed to boost their vaccination rates by offering doses to all-comers on days when there’s no one left in line from a prioritized tier.
You might also recall that Amazon has offered up its technological and logistical expertise to help with the vaccine rollout.
In a letter sent to President Joe Biden on the day of his inauguration, Amazon said that it is “prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts.”
If the vaccination effort in the U.S. can outpace the spread of more contagious COVID-19 strains from abroad, there’s a chance the U.S. might achieve herd immunity sometime in June.