I am on the primary care front lines in this pandemic. I help to do COVID testing for our community of patients 5 days a week. I don and sweat in my PPE during these appointments and during preventative and sick visit appointments. And up til now, this has been my main protection from COVID. A flicker of hope surfaced a couple of weeks ago when the release of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were announced. But as quickly as the announcement came, as quickly came the realization that we would not be getting the vaccine as soon as anticipated despite the role we have had these past nine months.
Along with many other community physicians who are not directly affiliated with a hospital, I have been left watching others receive their first vaccines while we wonder where are ours. As with many things during this pandemic, the rollout for the vaccines’ distribution has been a bumpy process (to say the least) in our area. Beyond receiving fewer vaccines, the plans for how vaccines should be distributed seem haphazardly thought out. The storage requirement for these vaccines, understandably, adds to the complexity of this. Hospitals have received much of the shipments and have been able to provide for their own. Unfortunately, it leaves many of us in the community, who also see sick patients feeling like we’re stranded on an island with limited resources. Since we do not directly have connections to a hospital, we have been left out of getting the vaccine.
After months of exhaustion and mental fatigue, this just seems like another stab in the back of many this pandemic. As I watch our ICUs and hospitals bursting at the seams, I pray that we will start to recognize and treat the process of vaccine distribution as the public health issue that it is. We need as many health care workers as possible to receive the vaccine so that we can continue to fight this virus and continue to care for our communities.
Anh Le is an internal medicine-pediatrics physician.
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