Romano Law Nurse Corner COVID-19 #45
Current Vaccination Situation - Patience
President Biden was sworn into office last week, promising to turn this pandemic around for Americans and drastically speed up the pace of widespread vaccinations. Many of us felt an immediate hope that we have not felt in a long time. As scientific based healthcare workers, the idea that scientists and public health officials will be guiding this fight going forward is exciting. We feel HOPE here at RLNC.
Where are we?
Not surprisingly, shortly after the inauguration, we also learned that the vaccine distribution strategy under the prior administration was significantly lacking. Thus leaving the new Biden Administration essentially starting from scratch in its efforts for the American people.
Well, not completely from scratch says Dr. Fauci, because there is activity going on in distribution, however President Biden is amplifying existing efforts. Whatever distribution has been going on has been inconsistent and seemingly nonexistent at times.
Here at RLNC, we feel, see and are frustrated at the slowed distribution. It seems like each day there is some new last minute announcement of where to go for a vaccine. Many seniors are in a panic trying to keep up with the new information. There is no consistency to any of the efforts, yet what we need most is consistency from a central national plan that people understand and can count on. We are in the beginning of that central effort.
We here at RLNC are ready to administer vaccinations along with a large group of volunteer medical personnel. However, after an initial vaccination day in St. Lucie County, we are told there will be more distribution sites soon. We continue to wait for our assignments to give vaccines. Even this volunteer program has hit a bit of a stall. The efforts are still stymied by lack of actual vaccines. Again, we believe that it will get better.
As we said last week, individually, the best thing you can do is keep checking the state health department as well as your local county health department and even your primary physician for information on a regular basis.
Somehow, actual confirmation of that lack of response thus far was helpful to understand how much work this new administration has ahead of them. It makes sense that there is no immediate easy fix. Our efforts continue to be essential. It is also helpful to understand the confusing and mixed messaging that flooded our news and social media since the beginning of this pandemic.
Meanwhile numbers of infected people are still skyrocketing. Death numbers continue to rise. Hospitals are taxed and unable to care for the sick and dying. The ravages of COVID-19 are everywhere. We are back where we feared we would be last spring, but we have a start and an effort to pull together as a nation and fight this pandemic. This is good news.
Dr. Fauci has said that it will get worse before it gets better. We see that now. He further states that we will be able to blunt the acceleration with the continued public health measures, but that it is going to really require people concentrating very, very intensively on doing the kinds of public health measures that we talk about all the time. Now's not the time to pull back on this.
President Biden’s National Strategy for COVID-19 was released shortly after the inauguration and includes 7 main Goals.
Goal 1-Restore Trust with the American People.
Goal 2-Mount a safe, effective comprehensive vaccination campaign (which included the goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days).
Goal 3-Mitigate the spread through expanding masking, testing, treatment, data workforce, and clear public health standards.
Goal 4-Immediately expand emergency relief and exercise the Defense Production Act.
Goal 5-Safely reopen schools, businesses and travel while protecting workers.
Goal 6-Protect those most at risk and advance equity, including across racial, ethnic and rural/urban lines.
Goal 7-Restore U.S. leadership globally, advance health security and build better preparedness for future threats.
In a letter to the American People, included with the plan, President Biden emphasized that this national strategy will be driven by scientists and public health experts who will regularly speak directly to you, free from political interference as they make decisions strictly on science and public health alone.
Here at Romano Law Nurse Corner find this refreshing and hopeful.
The actual plan is very detailed and has concrete explanations on all of the actions that President Biden is taking toward fulfilling each one of them. Here is a link for anyone who is interested in all the details:
Since taking office last week, President Biden has been signing many executive orders, one of the first of which requires masks on Federal property, a part of his campaign promise to push for a federal mask mandate during his first 100 days in office.
Despite these positive steps, there is still a lot of confusion and frustration for Americans who are faced with long lines, short supply, canceled appointments, appointment systems crashing from being overloaded and many other issues around the country. There is inconsistency of information and short supply of vaccine almost everywhere.
We have seen it here locally. It is so strange to see elderly people desperately trying to get their shots and not enough to go around. This will take time and we have to be patient and steadfast in our efforts.
Dr. Fauci, speaking on some of the weekend news shows, said that the figure President Biden is using of 100 million doses in 100 days is a floor not a ceiling. He further clarified that President Biden was talking about doses, not fully vaccinated people. He gave the example that within those 100 days some 67 million people might have received the second of their two required vaccine doses, with another 37 million having gotten just the first dose.
Overall, Dr. Fauci is hopeful that we will and are on our way to controlling this dangerous virus. We need leaders who instill confidence and hope in us as Dr. Fauci has done since the beginning of this pandemic.
Ron Klain, Biden’s Chief of Staff said that many bottlenecks had to be cleared from the prior administration and that we need more vaccine, we need more vaccinators, we need more vaccination sites. We have been feeling that here in Florida with long lines of people waiting at sites to only find they run out of vaccine after a small limited number of administrations.
Also last week, Governor DeSantis announced that he had partnered with Publix to try to get vaccines to more seniors statewide, including over 240 Publix locations. Governor DeSantis said that each location would have between 100-125 shots available per day. This effort did start last week.
Publix opened their online scheduling system and these appointments filled up very rapidly. The latest information is that they will be opening the vaccination schedule each week and that seniors have to go online and hope that they get one of these slots for a vaccination.
From the several people that we have heard did get through and get an appointment, the actual experience has been a well-organized one, without the chaos of long lines of waiting people. These appointments fill up quickly, however they seem to be running well so far. The link to Publix: https://www.publix.com/covid-vaccine
One senior who was successful in getting a vaccine at Publix explained that once you get on the scheduling site, you have to leave your browser there, not keep exiting and/or refreshing the page. This page has an automatic refresh every minute and if a space opens up you will see a “book appointment” button on the bottom of the page for you to click. If you leave that page you will lose your place in the “electronic line”. The most important thing is to be patient as you wait for the system to refresh each minute. This proved to be a very helpful tip.
Last week’s blog (https://www.romanolawgroup.com/blog/romano-law-nurse-corner-covid-19-42b-vaccination-update-from-the-front-lines) had links and specific information which emphasized checking both your local health department website as well as the Florida Department of Health’s website, for continued updated information.
Those resources are still the best place for you to find out where there might be vaccine availability. We feel that as this new federal plan continues to be implemented, access to vaccines for all Americans will become increasingly more widespread. We will continue to keep you updated the best we can. We must and will do better as a country.
For now, WE all must continue to do our part. It will take a bit of time and our continued mitigation efforts of Masks and Social Distancing. We must continue to be steadfast, more than ever. We really can get through this.
It will get worse before it gets better. Case numbers and deaths from COVID-19 will continue to rise as they have been. It is a race to widely vaccinate the population. As infections and cases continue to rise, we continue to fight in the ways we know how. This is the reality we have been living since March of last year.
However, we are optimistic that vaccination availability and use will rise. There are people working hard to beat this disease.
COVID-19 has changed our world in so many ways. There will be some version of a new normal once we get out of this immediate crisis. COVID-19 has changed our lives in so many ways forever. We suspect most people are realizing this as we come upon a year into living this way.
We continue to wear our masks and socially distance to protect our fellow human beings and ourselves. We ask that everyone do the same. PLEASE STAY SAFE!
We are Susan Ramsey and Amie Goldberg, both practicing attorneys and nurses here at the Romano Law Group. Here is a little more about each of us:
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional negligence, product liability and medical negligence.
Amie Goldberg is both an attorney and a certified APRN. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whittier College, Ms. Goldberg attended nursing school at Emory University. Ms. Goldberg’s professional experience started as a Registered Nurse at Egleston Children’s Hospital taking care of children with congenital heart disease. After a few years, she continued working in all areas of the hospital while attending Kennesaw State University on weekends in order to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialty of Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. During her time as an APRN, Ms. Goldberg decided to attend law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Since graduating, she has mainly practiced in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, fighting for the rights of injured people. Since joining the Romano Law Group, Ms. Goldberg has been the Director of the Opioid Litigation Project. Ms. Goldberg also practices in the area of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence, bringing an inside perspective and knowledge to help get justice for our clients.