The state of Texas alone has seen around 1M cases of coronavirus. There have been around twenty thousand casualties due to COVID-19. Cases keep coming in, and the capacity of the hospitals is maxed out. Between 5 and 10K new cases are reported each day. However, with pharmaceutical companies and researchers predicting a Q1 2021 launch of a vaccine, health officials in Hidalgo County are preparing a four-part plan to vaccinate the population against COVID-19.
Is a Vaccine Around the Corner?
Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Eduardo “Eddie” Olivarez is optimistic that the turn of the year will see the end of the suffering, and the vaccine will come out. He believes that immunization is the only way out of this whole pandemic situation. The pandemic is killing people but is also breaking countries economically.
Countries all over the world are conducting experiments and are trying to find a viable solution to put an end to the COVID-19. Even the developing countries, that did not help with any of the previously available vaccines are conducting trials.
The problem with the introduction of any vaccine is mass production. Mass production isn’t possible as soon as a vaccine is produced. It might take even years for manufacturing to reach optimal performance and hence cost reduction. So, when and if the vaccine comes out, the first problem would be determining who will receive the vaccine first.
Health officials in Texas have decided that the decision will fall to a committee created by the Governor’s Office. In their opinion, any other form of distribution will attract nationwide outrage. COVID-19 is not the common flu, it’s deadly, and everyone would want the vaccine for themselves.
The result, however, is the same. They are aiming to vaccinate the whole population once enough vaccines are available. According to them, the first in line for the vaccine may be first responders or medical professionals, and some suggest it may be the elderly. But, according to Olivarez, nothing has been decided yet.
As more of the vaccine becomes available, more people will be vaccinated.
A Four-Phase Vaccination Plan
The first phase of vaccinations will be decided by the committee, Olivarez said. However, there are more phases to the vaccinations. According to health professionals on his team, the second phase will focus on the elderly and nursing homes. Moreover, medical professionals, hospital settings will also be covered in the second phase.
The third phase will start the rollout to the general public. Everyone in the community will get the vaccine against the disease one way or the other. This may include running door-to-door vaccination campaigns. These kinds of vaccination campaigns are not in practice for long but are the need of the hour.
The last phase, the fourth, will focus on providing the vaccine to everyone and anyone who would like to get themselves vaccinated. This phase will see the vaccine become more like a flu-shot vaccine where individuals can just walk-in to get themselves vaccinated.
Can a Vaccine End The Suffering?
The plan to roll out vaccinations is a great effort. This way there will be no gaps between availability and administration of the vaccine. The world has suffered a lot at the hands of COVID-19. More than 1.2 million people have died. The new case counters keep on rising, and people are becoming more and more careless when it comes to social distancing.
Even if the vaccine becomes readily available, it is going to require millions or even trillions to vaccinate everyone in a state, let alone a whole country.