I am 65 years old and, like many others, I am excited to receive the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. I don't want to cut in line, and I understand that we all must patiently wait for our turn, but having some idea when that turn is probable would be wonderful. I believe that Gov. Tim Walz and the people he has put in place are doing a good job in a difficult situation, but they need to provide some clarity on approximately when we can get online and start making appointments to be vaccinated as is happening in other states.
Having some tangible hope, even months in the future, would help us all.
Sandra Scholes, Bloomington
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Have you ever been on a plane that has landed and taxied to the gate, only to be told by the pilot, "We are waiting for a gate agent to get the jetway in place"? Everyone's reaction is the same: "Didn't they know we were coming?"
That, regrettably, is where we are in the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine. The slow rollout is incompetence on a national level, led by state and local officials of both parties. They had months to plan but are still without a plan.
We have done this before and done it better. Before there were websites and text messaging, with less sophisticated transportation systems. See Asian flu, 1958.
Today, it's Israel that is excelling in delivering vaccines, acting on their sense of urgency and driven by a united public purpose. Israel, a country of 9 million, has given out over 10 times more vaccinations than Minnesota.
Citizens of Minnesota (or any other state) should not tolerate this failure of leadership.
Michael Abrams, Minnetonka
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The refusal of some health care workers to get vaccinated is disturbing but hardly surprising ("Vaccine distrust vs. virus horrors," front page, Jan. 15). Public agencies could make proof of vaccination a condition of participation in public programs such as schools and other events where people share proximity. Likewise business leaders could enforce a mandatory vaccination requirement for employees, especially those who work in proximity to others and the public. Voluntary participation is preferred but not adequate to address the overriding interest in achieving herd immunity though the vaccination program.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
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A message to all those people who are anxious about the COVID vaccine: Move out of line and let the millions of us who want the shots get them.
Jack Sheehan, Eden Prairie
How to best get the shot to all
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has specifically directed states to "open up more channels," including the nation's 1,500 community health centers, to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite the upcoming change in administration, it would be wise for the state of Minnesota to heed the secretary's advice, as we ramp up our COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts. Community health centers provide state health officials with two significant assets in the effort to quickly disseminate the vaccine to populations that are particularly vulnerable to contracting the virus.
The first is a prebuilt distribution infrastructure. This state's network of 17 community health centers provide care at 83 sites in both rural communities and urban neighborhoods in Minnesota. Moreover, the secretary understands the national reach of community health centers as they deliver care to 30 million Americans at more than 10,000 delivery sites. This prebuilt infrastructure serves low-income populations that face otherwise significant geographic, cultural, linguistic and transportation access barriers to care.
Secondly, community health centers engender a unique level of trust with their patients, many of whom have experienced historical trauma within our health care system. This trust has been developed over decades through committed service and dedication in meeting patients where they are in society. This positions Minnesota's network of community health centers as vital contributors in the mandate to enable disenfranchised communities to access the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine.
Community health centers are unique health care providers that live at the intersection of public health and primary care. In the name of expedience and equality, Minnesota would be wise to use each of Minnesota's 17 health centers as COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Jonathan Watson, Minneapolis
The writer is the CEO of the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers.
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Problem: How best to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.
Goal: Vaccinate the population as soon as possible.
Where: Polling stations.
When: Scheduled appointments. Each polling station has a list of voters registered to vote at their station. We have the name, address and date of birth of each voter (should that be needed). Appointments could be assigned in short increments over a 12-hour day and a 5-day week. Each voter would be notified by letter as to the day and time of their initial appointment along with their follow-on appointment. Those who miss their appointments would be turned away and deferred to a later day/time in order to maintain the schedule.
Staff requirements: The math is simple; each station would be staffed with a number of staff necessary to achieve the scheduling objectives, constrained by the number of doses available. Polling staff could serve to register patients and perform any prerequisite tests (i.e., taking of temperatures). Medically trained staff would administer the vaccine. Medical staff could be drawn from hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, first responders and the National Guard.
Vaccine management: Each morning, vaccine would be delivered to each station by the National Guard in coolers lined with dry ice to ensure its viability. Medical staff would be responsible for its further management (i.e., warming and syringe preparedness).
The goal would be to vaccinate the population across the state over two weeks, each separated by 21-28 days. That said, should either shortages exist in either vaccine doses or staff, then polling stations could be prioritized according to population density. For example, stations located in the inner cities could be activated first, then to a city's out rings as supplies permit.
Advantages to this plan: (1) it moves distribution to the communities in which the public lives, (2) it's easy to implement, and (3) other than the vaccine, we have everything we need to implement it, (4) it's easy to communicate to the public and answers their questions as to when they can get their shots and where they can get them.
Terrence Sullivan, Edina
Rarity is a reason to preserve
Is the Knutson Co. building near downtown Minneapolis attractive? Certainly not. Is it still worthy of preservation? Probably yes ("Defining merit in historic preservation," editorial, Jan. 11). The building is an example of Brutalist architecture — a style that showcases modern lines emphasizing building material and structural elements over decorative design. Raw concrete is often used, as with the Knutson Co. building, due to its low cost. While this style is common in some parts of the world — Vancouver, Portland, Ore., and countries of the former Soviet Union come to mind — it's uncommon in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Among the few examples are the Malcolm Moos Health Sciences Tower and Rarig Center (both on the campus of the University of Minnesota), Peavy Plaza and Riverside Plaza. Since Brutalist design is uncommon here, the Knutson Co. building should be preserved, even though it may not be considered attractive or be well-liked by many.
Douglas Mayo, Minneapolis
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