The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it. However, life may slowly creep back to the way it once was, and that is largely due to the fashion in which our major drug companies have manufactured the vaccine and the way it is being distributed around the world.
In terms of administering the injection, several interesting stories are unfolding as you read these words. The feeling in many quarters is that the vaccine is being administered methodically but just not quickly enough. The medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have said that in order to achieve herd immunity we need to vaccinate about 70% of the country. Only at that point can we hopefully begin to place this nightmare behind us.
In the meantime, it seems that over the last few weeks the State of Israel has provided the baseline and directive of how to go about the business of making sure that as much of the population in need of the vaccine gets inoculated as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Even more interesting at this juncture of the process is how New York is being compared to Israel, if for no other reason than because the population of Israel and New York City are about the same—eight million people.
So far, Israel has gotten their act together and has been able to vaccinate over 20% of the population in the Jewish state already. That is not the case here in New York where until a few days ago there was an ongoing tug-of-war between Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio about what the priority should be and which segment of the population should get the vaccine before any other.
So far, I know four people who have received the first shot in the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and one person who received the second injection this week. One of those people is a patient at The Premier nursing home in Woodmere. Premier Administrator Joe Benden has been diligent in seeing to it that The Premier was among the first to administer the much-needed second shot to the residents. Beginning this past Monday, a Walgreens vaccine team has been making their way through The Premier, inoculating residents, as Nassau County steps up the effort to inoculate everyone eligible for the vaccine as quickly as possible.
Inoculating an enormous amount of people is a gargantuan task, and although the media would like all eight million New Yorkers to be inoculated on the same day, that is obviously not possible.
My friend and contributor to this paper, Ron Jager, who lives in the Shomron, told me the other day that he received part one of the Pfizer vaccine on January 9 and will receive the second shot at the end of the month. I asked him whether there were any side effects, and he said that for some the only side effect was “anti-Netanyahu psychosis,” a reference to the claim that Netanyahu’s efficiency is politically motivated.
After almost a year now of coronavirus dominance around the world, people are anxious for life to return to the way it once was. The only way to do that is by working around the clock in states and countries around the world to vaccinate people.
A friend who recently received a visa to travel to Israel to visit his children who live there came back the other day and told me that he received the first of his Pfizer injections while he was in Jerusalem. He said he was with friends who live near a medical facility—not a hospital, he explained, but more like an urgent care. At the end of the day, the person who runs the place said that he had 15 doses left over and that if one of the folks dining nearby wanted to be inoculated he could do that; otherwise, the vials of vaccine would have to be discarded. So my friend took the shot.
Of course, he had to fill out reams of paperwork, but when it came to the matter of phase two of the shot, no one knew what to do. The health facility director called his contact in the Health Ministry the next day and was told that the man who received the injection would be given permission to return to Israel so that he could take part two of the vaccine.
Another person I know called me the other day to say that he, too, received the vaccine, was feeling fine, and was expecting shot number two next week. His story was similar to the man in Israel except that it was here at a nursing home in New York. He is not exactly high up on the New York priority list, but this was in a facility where he has a stake, and it was the end of the day so the leftover vaccines were going to be discarded.
One thing is clear here, and that is that everyone who can be inoculated should be inoculated, but even so, the political aspect of all this may weigh the process down and unnecessarily prolong it before everyone is vaccinated.
A fascinating dimension of the vaccine distribution is an Israel-based initiative. The proposed project, under the name Shalom Corps, is calling for Israel to spearhead a drive to vaccinate all elderly Holocaust survivors wherever they may be located in the world.
The idea, the Israel press says, is being spearheaded by MK Omer Yankelevitch who is a member of the Blue and White Party. Ms. Yankelevich has been severely criticized for what some say is an impractical idea that she is using as a publicity stunt so that she can attract more votes in Israel’s upcoming March election.
According to journalist Sam Sokol on the digital website of The Forward, there are 320,000 Holocaust survivors spread around the world who should be a global priority in terms of people who should be vaccinated. Just about all of the survivors today are over 80 years old. That means that they are the group most vulnerable to the virus.
Upon reflection, it is an extraordinary idea, and Ms. Yankelevich and her colleagues have their hearts in the right place. But how would this work? Are Israeli technicians going to fly into the U.S. or to the Ukraine, where there are pockets of survivors, to administer the shots?
So you see, no matter how complex it is to get the vaccine out there, there’s always a situation that can make the whole thing even more problematic.
Just as I was finishing this essay, my phone buzzed with a message from NYU Langone. The message said that I should hold off for now from calling my doctor because vaccine supply in New York is limited. It says that they will message me as soon as the vaccine becomes available for my age group.
OK, I’m waiting.
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