Like public health officials everywhere, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin marvels at the miraculous production of highly effective vaccines against COVID-19 in mere months.
But Duchin, head of public health in Seattle and King County, Washington, doesn’t dwell on the only triumph of the pandemic response. Instead, he quickly pivots to the huge deficiencies plaguing the rollout of those lifesaving injections.
The lack of planning and coordination. The insufficient workforce and training. The inadequate public messaging and outreach. And the failure to create a uniform database to track inventory and equitably distribute shots.
“We’re seeing the consequences now of a complete and utter failure to ensure we have a full and robust vaccination system,” Duchin said. The chaotic execution of state and local vaccination programs is only the latest in a series of missteps by public health departments during the worst pandemic in more than a century. They include lackluster testing, contact tracing and data collection, and the failure to protect minority communities, which have borne the brunt of this disease.
Author(s): MICHAEL OLLOVE AND CHRISTINE VESTAL
Publication Date: 1 February 2021
Publication Site: Governing