Blake Farmer / WPLN News
In December, all states began vaccinating only health workers and residents and staff of Phase 1A nursing homes, but since the beginning of the new year, some countries have also begun taking pictures or booking appointments for certain categories of adults and key workers.
As states begin to expand the choice of who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, health professionals often take people’s word for eligibility, thus prioritizing effectiveness over strict adherence to their own plans for distribution.
“We do our best to vaccinate only those who are ‘in phase’, but we will not refuse someone who has scheduled a vaccination meeting and tells us that they are in phase if they do not have proof or an ID card,” says Bill Christian. , a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Health.
Among countries targeting vaccination of the elderly, timelines and strategies vary. Tennessee began offering photos of people aged 75 and over on Jan. 1. So Frank Bargace of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, arranged an online meeting for his father – and then went on to put his own name, even though he was only 63.
“He’s 88,” Bargatze said, pointing to his father in the passenger seat after they both received their initial shots at the vaccination site in Murfreesboro, a large city outside Nashville. “I jumped on his gang,” he added with a laugh. “I’ll blame him for it.”
Bargatze added that he really works a few days a week with people cured of addiction, so that he can somehow qualify as a health worker.
Congested public health services do not have time to do many inspections, although some try harder than others. Dr. Lorraine MacDonald is a medical expert in Rutherford County, Tennessee, where she served at the vaccination site this week.
If people seeking the vaccine go through the online registration process, MacDonald says, and show up for their appointment, health officials will not ask any more questions – as long as they are on the online registration list.
“It’s hard,” MacDonald admitted when asked about people under the age limit who join older family members and take a dose. “It’s almost an honest system.”
People who have been vaccinated in several Tennessee counties this week told a reporter that they do not have to present an ID card or proof of qualified employment when they arrive at the vaccination site. Tennessee health departments usually make the mistake of simply firing, even if the person is not a local resident or is not legally in the country.
The loose application of the distribution phases extends to other parts of the country, including Los Angeles. In response, the governor of New York is considering making skipping lines a punishable offense.
However, many people who do not meet the requirements of the paper believe that they may need the vaccine as much as those who qualify in the early stages.
Gail Boyd of Murfreesboro is 74 years old, which means she doesn’t make the 75-year limit in Tennessee. But she is also in remission for lung cancer and is so eager to get the vaccine and return to a more normal life that she joined her slightly older husband at the Murfreesboro vaccination site this week.
“Indeed, no one has challenged me on the matter,” she said, noting that she was required to notify vaccination staff of her medical problems. “Everyone was extremely kind.”
Technically, in the current state vaccine plan, the presence of a respiratory risk factor such as lung cancer does not skip anyone in the current phase who does not otherwise qualify. But in some neighboring countries, such as Georgia, where the age limit is 65, she would are ranked right now.
Even for those who sympathize with such situations, anecdotes about skipping lines usually infuriate many who try to wait their turn.
“We’re trying to take responsibility,” said Gina Kay Reed, 57, of Eagleville, Tennessee.
Reed was also at the vaccination site in Murfreesboro, sitting in the back seat as she accompanied her older husband and mother. She says she did not think of trying to join them when receiving the first doses of vaccine. “If you take one and you don’t necessarily need it, you knock out someone else in that higher-risk group.”
But there is a way for younger, healthier people to get the vaccine sooner rather than later – and not take a dose from someone more deserving.
An increasing number of jurisdictions are realizing that they have residual doses at the end of each day. And photos can’t be stored overnight after thawing. So some pharmacists, like some in Washington, DC, offer them to anyone nearby.
Jackson, Tennessee, has created a “quick response” list for anyone who wants to get to the health department within 30 minutes. Dr. Lisa Pierce, who is the state health commissioner, says her own aunt and uncle called at 8pm and rushed to the county’s vaccination site to get their doses.
Pierce called it “best practice”, which he hopes will be accepted by other jurisdictions, offering a way for people who want the vaccine to get it, while helping states not to lose precious doses.