142 thoughts on “Politics Open Thread, Jan 31 – Feb 6

  1. Both my 82 yr old parents got vaccinated today. My dad through his PCP and my mom through the county health department. She said the National Guard was helping out and it was incredibly well run. They both have their second dose scheduled, and I feel so good about this!

  2. We’re trying to figure out why Colorado does not consider immune disorders to be high-risk conditions. The definition is “cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes mellitus, Down syndrome, specific heart conditions (heart failure, cardiomyopathies or coronary heart disease, and severe valvular/congenital heart disease), obesity (BMI ≥ 30kg/m^2), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, solid organ transplant. People with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks.”

    So DW can’t get a vaccine until phase 3, which likely won’t be until the summer.

  3. DD – Kansas put ALL of those health conditions in phase 3. And our phase 2 is giant – prisoners, homeless, teachers, retail, distribution and restaurant workers just to name a few. It’s part of the reason I like the lottery idea. It seems impossible to come up with a fair way to prioritize.

  4. Our infection rates post Thanksgiving and Christmas have come way down. The impact of all that holiday contact was so much larger than I expected. The load on our hospitals is gradually decreasing. Our vaccine rates are increasing but it’s still early days. I am really heartened by the decrease in infection rates. I hope the downward trend holds and schools can open. The problem with us is by the time a decision is taken and it’s time to open, rates have gone up again.

  5. Interesting Ada. It’s counterintuitive that being on immune suppressing drugs doesn’t increase the risk from COVID.

  6. My doctor friends agree with the article Ada posted. Their patients, including those undergoing cancer treatments, don’t seem to be any more likely to become infected, and those that did get COVID, were not statistically more likely to die.

  7. I assumed that the CDC list was based on any condition that the CDC had hard evidence for. No hard evidence, no vaccine.

    I was very interested to note that the CDC puts the “Ha ha, ur fat” cutoff at BMI of 40, whereas the Colorado cutoff is BMI of 30. That’s in keeping with Colorado being full of fit people who are grossed out by some extra pudge.

  8. According to this from the CDC, people on immunosuppressants are at higher risk from COVID:

    Many conditions and treatments can weaken a person’s immune system (making them “immunocompromised”). Some of these include:

    Cancer
    Bone marrow transplant
    Solid organ transplant
    Stem cells for cancer treatment
    Genetic immune deficiencies
    HIV
    Use of oral or intravenous corticosteroids or other medicines called immunosuppressants that lower the body’s ability to fight some infections (e.g., mycophenolate, sirolimus, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, etanercept, rituximab)

    People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of getting severely sick from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They may also remain infectious for a longer period of time than others with COVID-19, but we cannot confirm this until we learn more about this new virus.

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/immunocompromised.html#:~:text=People%20with%20weakened%20immune%20systems,causes%20COVID%2D19

    DW is taking one of the drugs listed.

  9. My sister in law got her vaccine today. She works a few hours a day at a private school, manning the front door for visitors. The school insisted she be vaccinated, and in her state she had no problem as a school employee getting one. Meanwhile, her mom in the same state is still waiting for a call to get hers. It really is bananas.

    Meanwhile, it seems Minnesota is very much doing a Scandinavian approach, as fair as possible, take care of the elders first, everyone waits their turn. And Osterholm is saying that March and April will be worse then ever because of the UK and South African variants. Trying to remain optimistic, and glad that my parents got their vaccine, but I worry for my kid’s schooling.

  10. “it seems Minnesota is very much doing a Scandinavian approach”

    You guys need to spread some of that mojo to the rest of the country!

  11. LT, we are seeing a decrease in case counts and hospitalizations here in CT after a big bulge in January. After seeing what happened in southern CA, I also worry about the variants causing our numbers to increase in a few weeks. I hope that vaccinations can combat another surge.

  12. @LT – I was also impressed that Minnesota did a mass vaccination event for teachers at the Excel Center & other places. Here we are still locked in a bitter & ugly school battle that is really got me at my wits end. But I don’t really want to get into it at the moment, so for now I will just say that since her election, I have lost all respect for our mayor – and the school reopening debacle is only one of many reasons.

  13. DD – My DH is on one of those drugs too. I had the 3rd hour of GMA on over lunch, and the tv doc was saying they don’t really have much data about whether or not the vaccine will provide much help to those with compromised immune systems. (Silent scream!) The immunosuppressants they are on may also dampen their body’s ability to mount much reaction which the vaccine is supposed to stimulate. I know DH’s transplant doc is anxious for him to get it, so there’s no wringing our hands over what to do. I’m not sharing what I heard today with DH.

  14. “Our infection rates post Thanksgiving and Christmas have come way down. The impact of all that holiday contact was so much larger than I expected. The load on our hospitals is gradually decreasing.”

    Locally at least, there is fear that Super Bowl parties will result in another spike. Those combine a lot of elements conducive to transmission– food, drink, cheering, people together for at least a few hours.

  15. The immune-stuff is poorly understood. I expect 20 years from now, we will have better understanding of the immune system once we figure out who got severely ill with COVID and why. It is standard practice (right now) in most hospitals to give massive doses of dexamethasone (long acting immune suppressant) to people with new covid infection. There is the thought that decreasing immune response will decrease the massive inflammation that leads to all the complications. It seems to help, kind of, but it is a pretty blunt instrument. So, it makes sense to me that immune deficient people (some of them, at least) might be at less/same risk as the general population.

    Fat tissue, on the other hand, make inflammatory chemicals. The more you have, the more inflammatory chemicals you have. So, that is a part of the understanding of obesity contributing to worse outcomes.

  16. “the tv doc was saying they don’t really have much data about whether or not the vaccine will provide much help to those with compromised immune systems. (Silent scream!) The immunosuppressants they are on may also dampen their body’s ability to mount much reaction which the vaccine is supposed to stimulate.”

    On the forum I follow it seems about half the patients were told to suspend their immunosuppressant medication for two months before vaccination and the other half were told it didn’t matter. (Of course for many stopping medication means return of symptoms so that’s not good.) This has come up before with flu and pneumonia vaccinations, where I’ve been told the vaccinations are not as effective for those on immunosuppressants.

  17. For transplant patients, they don’t have an option to temporarily suspend those medications, as they will reject their organ, I can understand if the reason for taking it was treatment of symptoms of autoimmune disease, that might be a reasonable strategy. Perhaps even lessening the dosage would favorably impact their response to the vaccine.

  18. My parents got their first dose (Moderna) today through their country health service as planned. Looking good for us to be able to have an extended visit with them in March! I can’t wait! Two down – two parents to go! MIL is supposed to get it tomorrow through a mass vaccination center, and FIL Thursday through a different one. Fingers crossed!

  19. It was reported that a local drugstore less than a mile from my home will be giving Covid vaccinations starting Feb. 9. I’ll try to schedule an appointment, timing it so that it will be at a relative low point in my body’s immunosuppressant med level. But I doubt I’ll spend hours on my computer jockeying for an appointment, so we’ll see.

    The latest news about the new variants makes me less optimistic about when we will be able to resume close to normal social interaction. I hope I’m wrong.

  20. Good luck Kim! I hope you get an appointment without too much trouble.

    Good news I think – I read that Astra Zeneca’s vaccine reduces transmission by 76 percent. And before anyone jumps in to poo poo 76% as “not good”, remember that hitting a triple is a good thing; you don’t have to hit all home runs to win a ball game.

    My state’s percent positive improved from 24% to 8% overnight when the health department started calculating the ratio the way the CDC does, (what we like to call “correctly”) as opposed to the way they had been calculating it (leaving people who had been tested previously out of the denominator, or what we like to call “whacked out crazy”). Now the Carolinas are more in line with each other.

  21. “I read that Astra Zeneca’s vaccine reduces transmission by 76 percent.”

    That would be very good news indeed. TMK, we don’t yet know how effective the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are at reducing transmission.

  22. I read that our Governor is saying to open schools for in person but teachers are Group 3. Till the teachers are prioritized schools will not open. I see a lack of concrete follow through. Prioritize teachers, learn from schools that have been operating through the pandemic, don’t indulge in wishful thinking. Now there is so much angst about how disadvantaged kids are falling behind but still no proper plan in sight.

  23. After treatment, DS2 was tested to see if he needed to be revaccinated, and no surprise, he did (pretty much all kids who do the high risk protocol for NB lose all traces of prior vaccinations). He wasn’t allowed to redo his vaccinations, though, for about a year post treatment and they had a particular schedule he had to follow.

  24. There is no question that disadvantaged kids are falling behind in school, but in NYC where schools have been largely open on hybrid model, those families are much more likely to choose the fully remote option. They are too scared to send their kids to school. I think it is because they are more likely to have elderly/high risk family members living with them in close quarters. There has been a lot of discussion as to how to encourage families in poor neighborhoods to put their kids into the hybrid model.

  25. In Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Detroit, hybrid isn’t even an option. And the unions are fighting the governor’s recommendation (orders?) to reopen. On the news teachers are reporting that their students are learning and making strides, but I don’t see how that is possible. Even with my help, my youngest is at roughly the same spot academically as she was last March. Her teacher can’t wait to get back in school next week. The other day I paid attention to how many students were on the “whole class” google meet – at most there were 16 kids (out of 25), and only a handful had their cameras on, despite the teacher’s pleas to turn them on.

  26. “and only a handful had their cameras on, despite the teacher’s pleas to turn them on.”

    I haven’t used google meet so maybe this is already possible, but it seems to me that it would be helpful if everyone could turn on the same background, so that the kids show up in a classroom or in front of the ocean or something uniform, instead of revealing their own home in the background. I have heard that families don’t necessarily want other people to see how they live, what a mess their house is, etc., and consequently won’t let the kids turn on the camera.

    Just from a college experience, DS3 came home to get some artwork for his bedroom wall, because he was embarrassed by his bare wall while other students had artwork or bookshelves in their room.

  27. At the college level, students mostly refuse to turn on their cameras. At quite a few schools, they have been demanding that administrations issue a no-camera policy. I am teahing two synchronous Zoom courses this semester and utterly hate it. I have to spend three hours yakking at a blank screen. They don’t answer questions I pose in class. We did an in-class quiz (over the syllabus, nothing major) and I discovered this morning that half of them didn’t do it – which tells me they were not paying attention at all to the class. My two college kids tell me they are having the same experience in the synchronous classes, and suspect that many students log in and then go do something else. Or play games.

    I know that students in in-person classes are usually not paying much attention either. But I can walk around the room and see that they are futzing with the phone instead of taking the quiz

    Synchronous remote classes=all the disadvantages of remote classes with none of the advantages.

  28. HFN, yes I’ve heard that the true background is often a problem. Google meets does allow for different backgrounds. I saw a tweet by a HS teacher that said after class, he asked a student to turn the camera on, and in the background were 2 or 3 young siblings that he was in charge of during the day. It is a real problem, and I think one of reasons hybrid is rejected, and maybe full inperson too, is because the lack of before/after school care options. It’s easier to keep them home if there is an older teen sibling/cousin/neighbor that is around.

  29. They are too scared to send their kids to school.

    There risk/reward calculation is also different. For most totebaggers college and a professional career is the default For lower middle class folks and below that is often the exception. If the default assumption is that your kids will work in the same working class jobs you work in then school isn’t all that important.

  30. Is there any evidence that the hybrid model is having better results overall? Which version of hybrid?

    I suppose it depends quite a bit on the actual situation, but the hybrid model that they are pushing here has each “pod” of students sitting stationary at their socially-distanced desks two days a week, still logged into the Google Meet with headphones, with the teacher at the front of the room, teaching into the Google Meet with a mask to the remote and in-person kids at the same time. No before or after care, lunch at desks, two scheduled bathroom breaks per “pod” – otherwise no movement really allowed and the “in person interaction” is very limited.

    The other versions I’ve seen are essentially school 2 days a week instead of 5. Oh – with “async” learning aka homework on the home days.

    Neither of those are that appealing – especially with the hassle and risk associated.

  31. One of the downsides of hybrid is the constant quarantines and disruptions. In Nov/Dec, our HS had to go all remote several times because so many teachers were quarantined. And some kids ended up quarantining 2 or 3 times. It was so hard to keep track of what was going on. My kid finally went all remote because she was so scared of having to quarantine (she takes meds for anxiety, and doesn’t handle instability well). I think for next quarter though, I will move her back to hybrid because I think the case numbers will be down and it won’t be so crazy

  32. “One of the downsides of hybrid is the constant quarantines and disruptions. ”

    That too. Catholic schools have been “fully open” here for the most part, but I swear my coworker’s kids are out half the time anyway, and they don’t handle the remote/quarantined kids as well because they are “fully open”.

    It’s all a mess.

  33. My kids have had mostly in person school but the recent spike was really disruptive. Some weeks were remote, then back, some quarantine etc. They have gone back and hopefully can stay in school the rest of the year. It’s still not normal because most of the fun stuff has been impacted. There’s very few things to look forward to.

  34. My grandkids have consistency from day 1. No school wide shutdowns. For them, no pod quarantines either. Two full days in person, one half day for both pods on zoom, and two short days asynchronous. Aides mostly help out with the online monitoring and the zoom halfday. The teachers do the content presentation. In March the youngest will be 4 days in person, not 2. They decided K to 3 hybrid is less than satisfactory and their success so far leads them to try for better. Might be delayed with slow vaccine rollout. 30 percent of elementary students opted for full remote, a one time opportunity for choice in Sept, and the teachers who did not want classroom exposure teach those kids in district wide classes.

  35. DD has had consistency from day 1 – 100% online until yesterday. DPS didn’t even try to get the middle and high schools back until the new year.

  36. My kids school just sent out a notice saying that from their knowledge, teens reported mild congestion/mild headache in the beginning and then after a few days tested Covid positive. So, they are repeatedly asking kids not to come to school in person, if they feel unwell. They by now have a lot of experience, handling this. Also, families with one kid who has been exposed, others should not go to school. These scenarios have been the most challenging to handle. Again, hopefully things will calm down.

  37. I think hybrid methods would have to be the most challenging. My sister, a middle school teacher, said hybrid is the hardest to teach and basically it is just teaching online but babysitting the kids sitting in her class.

    My kids have been in school the entire school year. I’m feeling incredibly lucky that we have gone this long with staying in school. They split the classes into two cohorts and alternate days with their teacher. On the alternate days they spend half the day with a specialist (gym, music, art, etc) and half the day with a teacher’s aide. Lunch eaten in the classroom. Recess in assigned spaces on playground with their cohort. My 4th grader has 9 kids in his cohort and my 5th grader has 10 kids in his. Masks on the entire time except for lunch, recess, and gym. There have been maybe 5 cases of covid at school for K-8. I believe they quarantined the cohort. Neither of my kids have had a case in their cohort. The school upgraded their air filtration systems and have the space to spread kids out in the classroom. The school is also offering full-time distance learning for those interested. We are also having more teacher development days to give them time to plan. The middle and high schools did remote learning from Thanksgiving through MLK day when case counts were high, but the elementary school continued to be in person.

    Minneapolis public schools went full distance learning, and I think that was the right choice versus trying to figure out a hybrid model. Public schools also don’t have the resources or the flexibility that private schools have. Minneapolis is now trying to bring kids back, and it doesn’t sound like the plan is well thought out.

    My kids have loved the smaller cohort sizes at school. They like a lot of the changes at school this year. They also haven’t minded wearing masks. They’ve been wearing masks for soccer for the last month. I asked how it was going, and they said it doesn’t bother them. My youngest forgets all the time he has his mask on.

  38. TCM, I know many MPS families that are going private next year because they are so fed up with the district. In addition to distance learning (they still aren’t actually sure they’ll return next week), the CDD plan is beyond disappointing.

    Regarding masks, I took my kids today to get their passport renewed and they had to remove their masks to show their face matched their photo. Both of them were really hesitant to do so and looked to me to give them okay. On the way home they were saying “I can’t believe I had to take my mask off, that felt so strange.”

  39. Happy Dance! DH got a text from one of the hospitals where he gets treated with a “limited time only vaccination invitation”. We chose from many slots, 3pm sunday Valentines Day, at a med building 2 miles from our house. No jumping the line. No 2 hr drive.

  40. That’s awesome Meme ! A Happy Valentine’s Day indeed.

    My aunt called my mother and was going on about her side effects to the Moderna vaccine. All the side effects she described were known and went away in a day or so. Luckily my mother already had her first shot with no ill effects otherwise she would worry.

  41. And as caregiver it was serendipitous that he had left his phone in the charger, needed it, I went to get it just as the time sensitive text arrived. He might have ignored, missed, accidentally deleted, or misunderstood it.

  42. “Both of them were really hesitant to do so”

    I went to the dentist today and felt the same way. There were more people in the dentist’s office than I’d been near in months. The subway was the fullest I’ve seen.

  43. Ive about reconciled myself to the reality thay my family may never get the virus. Although we are in the category to get the vaccine right now, we need to get it from our healthcare provider. Our healthcare provider is in a different county than we live in. The county with our health care provider is only giving it to people who live in that county.

  44. RMS..yes…broken hand typing…do not recommend.

    Half of my brothers, SILs, nieces and nephews have had the virus, with no lasting effects. I figure my genetics are ok for it. DH I’m worried about, but it doesn’t look like there will be a way for us to get it.

    I can imagine that come the fall, there will be new strains and a new vaccine and the same distribution system. We’ll be shunted to the back of the line again.

  45. Cass,

    Are there no providers seeing new patients in your county? Is there a Ralph’s or Kroger in your county?

  46. Rhett,

    No. Ralphs is a Southern Cal chain. I don’t think Kroger is in the state at all. The local CVS has no plans to distribute the vaccine.

  47. I’m having some complications with my hand so i’m reluctant to switch providers. DS has a long standing autoimmune condition and there are no specialists for him in county. DH is also dealing with age related issues, so for many reasons changing providers isn’t an option. We are better off taking our chances with the virus.

  48. “Why would you have to switch providers?”

    Because providers are only giving vaccines to established patients.

    Finn, my doctor actually suggested the same thing. For reasons, i have had prior contact with our legislature. she is somewhat smpathetic to rural issues. that is on my list of things to do.

  49. Rhett – some healthcare practices don’t have the authorization to give the vaccine, so switching may be required to get the vaccine. Our largest healthcare system opened up the registration to non patients and our county has a big site so seniors who could not get a vaccine through their own healthcare practices got the vaccine that way. No questions were asked if you were a county resident etc.

  50. Because providers are only giving vaccines to established patients.

    And you will be after your appointment.

  51. Colorado vax sites were turning away legitimate vax candidates because they didn’t live in the “correct” county. Gov. Polis came down on them like a ton of bricks. Newsom could fix Cass’s situation tomorrow if he had the political will.

  52. Cass. My eye doctor is affiliated with a big hospital group, not like my small practice regular doc. I am up to date in the big group database and portal and on the next tier vax notification list. The DH hospital vax appt text was from being in a different hospital group data base from his high risk colonoscopies – not from his large med group which still doesnt have supply and has told us they have 40000 established patients over 75, so dont hold your breath. A bag made of 20 layers of fishnet still has large holes. I agree with RMS. The governor or state medical officials could fix your issue immediately.

  53. The vaccine allocation is another one of the issues. Currently, my county is getting enough vaccine to vacinate 10 people per day. It will take over six years to vacinate the current population. The state keeps changing the priority levels and can’t seem to figure out that people cross county lines to work, shop, go to school, go to the doctor, etc.

  54. And yes, I’m venting. I’m pretty good at sourcing supplies, figuring out work arounds, getting things done. But I’m starting to realize that getting vaccines for my family and employees is not something I can get done.

    Everyone I know who died from COVID was either extremely elderly or had serious health issues. I know a lot of people who got the virus, and are now fine and can get on with their lives.

  55. WV has done amazingly well by keeping things simple and having one statewide process. NH has done something similar. On the other hand:

    In many states, Dai said, governors have delegated the vaccination process to a web of underfunded county health departments, along with hospitals, pharmacies, HMOs and doctor’s offices. Each has devised its own sign-up system and made its own rules for who can get vaccinated and when….
    “If you just pass this all to the 55 counties in my state, then you’re going to have 55 chiefs,” Justice said. “You’re going to have absolute chaos in every way.”

    I was always told that local is better. It doesn’t seem to be the case in this instance.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/states-vaccine-rollout/2021/02/03/eae671a0-656f-11eb-886d-5264d4ceb46d_story.html

  56. WV and NH are both tiny states and, as far as I know relatively homogenous.

    I had a conversation with a county supervisor (not sure what the term is in the east. There are about five supervisors per county and they are the governing board for the county) an dshe said the problem was that hey were no and/or conflicting info from the state. She was really irked that the county bought the necessary freezers for the supercold vaccine and still couldn’t get supplies.

    There have been reports that vaciune distribution follows political ideologies more than population densities.

    LA County is not on a timeline where it will take six years to vaccinate the population.

  57. not sure what the term is in the east

    We essentially don’t have country level government as there is no unincorporated land.

    Generally speaking, New England states do not have as active a county government system as compared to the rest of the nation.

  58. Cass,

    From everything you’ve said it sure seems like doing it at the country level wasn’t a good idea. It was an especially bad idea to run it through counties and have the counties run it through PCPs.

  59. Ah here is a better description.

    The county government was abolished in late 1999, and so Suffolk County today functions only as an administrative subdivision of state government and a set of communities grouped together for some statistical purposes.

  60. “county supervisor (not sure what the term is in the east. There are about five supervisors per county and they are the governing board for the county)”

    Not sure about in the east, but west of you our equivalent to the county councilperson.

  61. “We essentially don’t have country level government as there is no unincorporated land.”

    Every time I think I can grasp how densely populated the east is, something new pops up.

  62. “We essentially don’t have country level government as there is no unincorporated land.”

    Were you referring to the Trump administration? Or did you mean county rather than country?

    In SV (and TMK, other parts of CA), there is county level government, even though counties encompass incorporated cities. E.g., Palo Alto is an incorporated city that is also part of Santa Clara County. So PA residents have city, county, state, and country level governments.

  63. “west of you our equivalent to the county councilperson.”

    Oops, west of you our equivalent is the county councilperson.

  64. @Cass – Here in the 2nd largest county in the country (Cook), we have a County Board with a Board President and a board of County Commissioners. It’s not that different from CA here in the sense that throughout the state there are small, rural counties that are largely driven by ag along with the aforementioned county that is only second to LA in size, and lots of suburban counties as well (including the urban-suburban area across the river from St Louis). Now I’m curious if it has been a struggle downstate where there is less county infrastructure. I haven’t heard that, but of course our media is very Chicago-centric.

    Anyway – our rollout is by county too, which I find a little odd/inefficient. But they’ve split Cook county into Suburban Cook and City of Chicago for vaccine distribution. (this is also true for lots of other things)

  65. “From everything you’ve said it sure seems like doing it at the country level wasn’t a good idea. It was an especially bad idea to run it through counties and have the counties run it through PCPs.”

    There were so many bad ideas…It might have worked running the vaccine through the counties and then having the counties distribute it…might take some help from the National Guard, but that is part of their function. Every county has a fairground which works well as a mass vaccination site.

    Or the state could have sent it to the PCPs and had them distribute it.

    Requiring both counties and PCPs just indicates that the state govt has no clue about so many things…which actually isn’t a surprise

  66. About a week ago, NYTimes had an article that was highly critical of vaccine distribution in California. The article said that one of the biggest problems was that they left key decisions to the counties rather than have a statewide policy.

  67. I should mention that there are small areas of Cook County that are unincorporated. There law enforcement is provided by the Sheriff’s office along with other services being provided by the county. Also – besides Forest Preserves (aka County Parks), there tend to be lots of industrial areas with taverns and strip clubs (I assume because county zoning is more lax than most towns, but that is just my guess).

  68. @Cass – I haven’t heard of people here not being able to get it from their provider because their provider is in a different county from their county of residence here. That is really common here. In fact, I know personally a few people in our extended family were easily able to cross county lines to get a vaccination from their PCP in a different county. My dentist friend was able to get vaccinated through the county where his office is located, even though he lives in the county next door as well.

  69. There are reasons to use counties to distribute the vaccine, but not to dictate how the counties do it. Requiring the counties to use PCP to distribute vaccines was an unforced error. It is not an odd thing at all in the rural northern part of the state to go out of county or out of state for medical care. There is a certain minimum population necessary to provide a client base for specialists. So, in certain areas, medical groups that provide a lot of services may not be in county. Or it may be a shorter drive to hop across county or state lines to see a doctor.

    I read the NYTimes article. They try their best, but their core competency is not understanding rural issues. Bless their heart

  70. Here both the county, healthcare systems and health care with private partnerships for large vaccine events are distributing. So between these access points most seniors got appointments. Our governor is saying that when more supplies come in, the grocery pharmacies with step in to help vaccinate the essential workers. The grocery stores seem ready to go. It seems like there is a operation in the background where neighborhood with people who can’t get to vaccines easily have small community events. After the initial “how to sign up” I think it’s smoother now.

  71. Requiring both counties and PCPs just indicates that the state govt has no clue about so many things…

    They are just following well worn conservative tenets about subsidiarity. Surely it makes sense for all 58 counties in California to developed their own signup website. You can’t tell me decades of conservative talking points are just nonsense.

  72. I live in unincorporated Harris County, and as Ivy describes, it is frequently divided into
    Houston and the rest of Harris County. I can get vaccinated at any place I can get in, but it’s very much a luck of the draw thing. Some providers are only providing to their patients, or over 65, while others are giving to whoever is most effective at stalking the refresh button. In Oklahoma where my parents are, you are not limited to your own county, but they’re only vaccinating health care workers and those over 75. I don’t think anyone wants a bunch of 80 year olds on the highway driving to distant counties seeking out vaccines.

    I’m thinking positively that my neighborhood CVS will get it and I’ll somehow luck into it. No one burst my bubble. I have a husband for that.

  73. I’m thinking positively that my neighborhood CVS will get it and I’ll somehow luck into it.

    I think if vaccine supply improves, stores with pharmacies will be the place most of the general population gets their shots. Same as the flu shots. You will still be able to go to your healthcare provider but that’s inconvenient as compared to a grocery store visit.

  74. I have a friend in Missouri who qualifies for vaccination under their guidelines but cannot find an open slot. She has posted on FB for help locating a site with vaccine. She says she is willing to travel anywhere in Missouri or Illinois (evidently Illinois does not care if you are out of state) but she can’t find a site with appointments.

  75. “I think if vaccine supply improves, stores with pharmacies will be the place most of the general population gets their shots. ”

    I don’t think that will be common until vaccines are approved that don’t require the super cold storage temperatures. If/when the J&J vaccine gets approved it’ll open all sorts of new pathways for vaccination.

  76. What’s the deal with Marjorie Taylor Greene? How many votes are needed to remove her from her committees?

  77. I’m trying to figure MTG out. Is she just that cousins/neighbor/ former coworker you’re friends with on Facebook but you’ve unfollowed because they’re a nut who keeps sharing nonsense? And she’s somehow got herself elected to Congress?

    Watching her admit Sandy Hook was real it seemed like she didn’t really know what she was doing when she said it was fake.

  78. Rhett, who was she running against? Does she have a similar name to a recent non crazy official?

  79. I’m trying to figure MTG out. Is she just that cousins/neighbor/ former coworker you’re friends with on Facebook but you’ve unfollowed because they’re a nut who keeps sharing nonsense? And she’s somehow got herself elected to Congress?

    That’s Lauren Boebert.

  80. Does she have a similar name to a recent non crazy official?

    I don’t think so. Her challenger in the Republican primary told everyone that she was a nut at every opportunity. But the voters liked what she had to say apparently.

  81. From what I have read, her primary challenger was very conservative and Trumpian but without the crazy Qanon conspiracies. Very concerning that the voters chose her instead of him.

  82. “I have a friend in Missouri who qualifies for vaccination under their guidelines but cannot find an open slot.”

    That’s happening in NY, too. While I’m not spending hours looking for an appointment, I have not been able to find one and I read about others who are struggling to find open slots.

    Securing vaccine appointments remains an elusive task for many New York seniors

    https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/2021/02/04/frustrated-seniors-struggle-schedule-covid-vaccine-appointments/4376357001/

  83. Her district is in rural Georgia, and is one of the most conservative in the country. I bet a lot of voters there believe the QAnon stuff

  84. Per Meme’s request, I am moving this over here for discussion. Sorry, Meme.

    “OTOH, as more people have taken the shots with limited side effects word of mouth has gone around in favor of the vaccine. Word of mouth is very important in certain communities. No amount of scientific data in favor will sway opinions. However, if Uncle Joe, took the vaccine and he is all right, it’s fine to take it.”

    I think this is a good point. I signed my parents up and got them in for their first doses. Once they got their shots, lots of their friends asked me to help them. I think they were reassured that my parents didn’t have any adverse events. And a lot of them had a hard time dealing with the signup and just needed someone else to handle it. It seems like we have a big group of people who really want the shot, a small but vocal group of anti-vaxers who will never get it, and then a big group of people who will probably get it if it is convenient. Once we get through the vaccine frenzy with the first group, I hope we really focus on the last group and getting the vaccine out to places that make it very easy.

  85. Her district is in rural Georgia, and is one of the most conservative in the country. I bet a lot of voters there believe the QAnon stuff

    Parts of her district are rural, but it’s a mistake to categorize it as a rural district. Her district includes both Rome and Dalton, which are cities (small, but still cities), and industry focused. It also includes Spaulding County, which is not far at all from Atlanta and could be considered a suburb of Atlanta in a stretch. It would be a mistake to dismiss her supporters as rural idiots.

  86. @ Reality – I want to acknowledge your feelings of guilt, and encourage you to get vaccinated anyway. Every person who is eligible and gets it helps (1) to drive down cases overall, thus reducing spread, and (2) encourages others to get it. It’s okay to have mixed feelings, but don’t let those feelings stop you from doing the right thing (which is to get vaccinated when it is offered to you.)

  87. Reality, your query and the direct responses were fine fir the main page. No need to apologize. The discussion just veered off quickly.

  88. Reality, consider this: We will all get the shot eventually. You’re not taking a scarce resource that can never be renewed. There WILL be more vaccines available. Even healthy 30-year-olds will get it by summer.

  89. I am very good with internet and sourcing, but DH is not able to stand in line, or manage a long drive each way, and it is cold, damp snowy and pushing him in a wheelchair is a lot of work, So the search process was not going to be fruitful and my mental health wasnt up to it. Areas with lots of clear highways and big parking lots and large venues can more easily set up mass vaccination as a primary delivery mechanism. We decided to wait for distribution through the health care system, which is very efficient in the metro Boston area if and when they get the supply. But the contact thru a text and click thru did presuppose a degree of tech executive function in the over 75s.

  90. Alright! I signed up. Going next Thursday. I will get over my issues. The system is imperfect and I am not going to solve it.

  91. I was just reading this in Axios:

    “By the numbers: Though internet use among seniors is on the rise, nearly 22 million seniors, or 42% of the nation’s over-65 population, lack broadband access at home, according to a January report from Older Adults Technology Services, a nonprofit affiliate of AARP.”

  92. “Even healthy 30-year-olds will get it by summer.”

    Only if they are connected. My county isn’t on track ro vaccinate everyone for years.

  93. If J&J gets approved (which everyone expects to happen), that will be good for rural places, Cass. Hopefully they can push the vaccines out to pharmacies and other places like that and make it much more accessible. It’ll get worked out, but I very much understand your frustration now.

  94. Cassandra, eventually California will unfuck the delivery system and y’all will get your shot.

    Its doubtful. The red counties are getting far less than their share of the vaccines. There is no reason for that to end.

  95. I’m sorry about that situation Cass. Your sense of hopelessness concerns me. Hang in there, friend.

  96. Here, there is sensitivity to inequitable distribution of the vaccine. So, if rural areas complain or some other group complains there is a response. There is a whole state other than two big metro areas.
    Cass – get a journalist to print a story about toiling in the pandemic to feed the nation and getting no vaccine in return for your efforts.

  97. Cass: Hang in there! Did you see that CVS will be distributing vaccines, including Yuba City and Modesto? The number is still low overall, but certainly a step in the right direction:
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.kcra.com/amp/article/cvs-pharmacy-covid-19-vaccine-appointments-california/35396868

    Sutter is also allowing people who aren’t current patients to sign up for an appointment if you are in a currently eligible tier; ag is up next once the 65+ / HCW / LTC are served!

  98. I hope that someday we can have real data about the vaccine rollout and some root cause analysis done. Because this is not the only time we’re going to have to deal with this. I just find it interesting how much perception plays into it, and it’s hard to figure out how much of that is real and how much is confirmation bias.

    Example: Cass is seeing a political bent in the distribution. I am also seeing a political bent, but in the other direction: basically everyone I have heard of in FL has been able to get a vaccination, and almost no one I know in MD has (and those who have have either had to go out of state, like my mom, or had to basically troll the computer and phones nonstop to get a slot when they opened, like my friend’s daughter the teacher managed last night). So I’ve been annoyed that the poster child state for “covid isn’t real” is apparently getting all the vaccines they need, so the oldsters can continue to throw their non-socially-distant get-togethers with impunity.

    And yet today I pulled up the statistics. Turns out MD has received enough vaccine doses so far to cover 16% of the state’s population, and Florida 17% (CA is in the middle, btw, at 16.4%). So sure, there’s some difference, but it’s not the big delta that I was assuming just based on people I know and what I hear from both states.

    I’m still royally pissed, though, that smoking gets you priority and asthma does not. I freaking have reduced lung function because of decades of asthma, and every single little cold I get goes right to my chest. But apparently that doesn’t justify priority, because it wasn’t self-inflicted and I couldn’t actually help it. Grrrrr.

  99. LfB There is a difference between vaccines recieved and vaccines administered. West Virginia has administered about 85 % of vaccines received California less than 50%.

    Also who gets the vaccines is highly political. I know lots of people who have gotten it. One of my daughters dorm mates got it because her parents are orthodontists. They put her down as an employee. I know of many other various other dental or fire fighting or politician relatives doing the same thing.

    The vaccines are not distributed to counties based on population, or eligibility status. My county is highly essential workers. We are in the bottom five of 58 counties in per capita vaccine distribution. We are a very red county in a very blue state. We have the refrigeration capacity and distribution capacity. It is hard to come up with a reason why the county cant get vaccine that doesn’t rely on politics.

  100. Cass — yes, I agree that statewide data will hide a lot of county-by-county variability. And I’m sorry if I came off as dismissive of your very valid frustrations. What’s interesting to me is that you could also draw some conclusions of political favoritism based on our numbers — if you look at the MD county map at https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/#Vaccine, the numbers basically correlate with votes, except in the opposite way that yours do: by far the highest vaccination rates are in the reddest counties in MD, and the most-highly-blue areas have the lowest rates. That stretch of the palest color to the E/SE of DC with the 3-5% rates is where all the Black people live who work in the DC area, as a result of historic redlining and restrictive covenants. Conversely, the Eastern Shore and Western MD, with the 10-13% rates are very conservative.

    I think the difference is that I have more trust in our Governor than you do (and apparently have reason to), so I am disinclined to believe that he is currying political favors and figure there must be some other logical explanation for it. It’s not wealth or education level, as some of the poorest counties are the ones with the highest vaccination rates, and there are some big, expensive homes in those DC-adjacent counties (and even Montgomery County, the wealthiest in the state, is only middling at 7.442%). I am betting there is a large racial component to it, as Black people tend to be more suspect of our healthcare system (and not unreasonably so given our country’s history in that regard) — and that strip of paler colors between DC and Baltimore and is much more Black than the rest of the state. But that’s part of the reason I hope someone actually looks hard at the data after the fact, to figured out what worked well, what didn’t, where biases and preferences came into play, etc.

  101. I’m not having a very good day today (NYT article on working mothers hit very close to home), but RMS’s use of “disease vector” was just the laugh I needed.

  102. I just found out that another person I know passed away from Covid. This is the third person this week. All ag workers like DH and I.

  103. Kerri, and it doesn’t help that for the majority of people, the virus is no big deal. And for others it is deadly. The guy who I just found out about was a contemporary of my little brothers. My brother had COVID a couple months ago, only knew because his wife and daughters had it and he got tested.

  104. “I’m still royally pissed, though, that smoking gets you priority and asthma does not.”

    Buy a cigarette, light it up, take a puff (you don’t need to even inhale), and poof! You’re a smoker!

    Or just light a few strands of hair, and put them out right away.

    Or maybe you’re mad enough to qualify.

  105. “Good for you, Reality! Seriously, it’s great, you won’t be a disease vector anymore.”

    I hope that’s true, but TMK we don’t know that yet.

  106. Cass, I sympathize with your frustration.

    But I think you will eventually be able to get the vaccine, perhaps by driving to a city and getting the J&J vaccine at someplace like CVS.

    You may need to wait a while, but my hope is that as more people get vaccinated, the number of people hospitalized goes down. This will reduce the demand for vaccine to the point that supply matches demand, or perhaps slightly exceeds it, and desire for profits on the part of vaccine manufacturers and companies in the supply chain ensures availability.

    OTOH, my fear is that immunity provided by the vaccines is limited in duration and/or protection from mutated strains, so regular booster shots will be required, keeping demand high and keeping it hard to get.

    Since you have travel planned, I suggest prior to your trips you investigate availability of vaccines at your destinations.

  107. “a small but vocal group of anti-vaxers who will never get it”

    I wonder if the anti-vaxxer movement has changed over the course of the Trump administration.

    It seemed to me that earlier, a lot of anti-vaxxers were freeloaders who didn’t necessarily dispute the efficacy of vaccines, but wanted to avoid side effects, real or imagined.

    But now there are anti-vaxxers who want to prevent anyone from getting vaccinated.

    It does seem that these newer anti-vaxxers may have tremendous tolerance for cognitive dissonance. My guess is many of them are the same people who are anti-mask because they feel masks are an affront to their personal freedoms, yet they have no problem denying others the freedom to decide for themselves whether to get vaccinated.

  108. I checked tonight and there are hundreds of appts available next week at Fenway and thousands at Gillette Stadium. These are all for over 75’s. There is also a mass vax site near Springfield. Guess tge problem was just a combination of uncertain supply and website capability..

  109. Meme, I am glad your DH got a doctors office location. The mass vaccination sites here are suitable for the 65 to say 70 but not so suitable to older and frailer folks, especially in the cold.
    The county site for us is a big auditorium that has restrooms that are easily accessible. You need to park close to the entrance, so a shorter walk. My parents healthcare practice has just been authorized to give the vaccine but doesn’t have doses yet. The strangest part was that they participated in both the Moderna and J&J trials but weren’t authorized to give the vaccine in general. Their patients are ticked off, I think.

  110. The strangest part was that they participated in both the Moderna and J&J trials but weren’t authorized to give the vaccine in general. Their patients are ticked off, I think.

    That’s probably an FDA thing. People are screaming at the FDA about dragging their feet on authorizing Moderna to use a different size vial. They also aren’t moving right along with the J&J vaccine, and they’re just being pissants about the Astra Zeneca tests. They’re waiting for the data from the AMERICAN trials, since the BRITISH trials won’t do at all.

  111. The Stadium location is via heated tent in a parking lot, there are wheelchairs available, and helpers. Still need a driver. A two and a half hour outiing from our house to there and back is too long for DH. Fenway requires parking in a nearby paid garage, and a walk, so out of the question. The latter will be perfect for me. I can take public transportation or drive to my usual garage at Copley and get my steps in. If the appts dont all fill up with 75 plusses this week they will go to 65 plus very soon. Governor announced a call center for 75 plus without internet capability. They will take names and call back when a convenient local slot comes up. Still need exec function and transportation..

  112. “They’re waiting for the data from the AMERICAN trials, since the BRITISH trials won’t do at all….”

    For emergency authorization.

  113. The strangest part was that they participated in both the Moderna and J&J trials but weren’t authorized to give the vaccine in general. Their patients are ticked off, I think.

    It’s because during the trial Moderna supplies the vaccine directly to the sites doing the trial. After the trial Moderna supplies the vaccine to where ever the purchaser (here, the feds) tells it to.

    They’re waiting for the data from the AMERICAN trials, since the BRITISH trials won’t do at all. I think this is a good idea. AstraZeneca was pretty sketchy about providing timely safety information to the UK regulators more than once. I think their data warrants separate trials and separate evaulation.

  114. ““When everyone is a priority, no one is””

    I don’t necessarily agree. When everyone is a priority, I think the focus can then become getting shots in arms as quickly and efficiently as possible. No effort needs to be spent, e.g., making sure people don’t game the system to jump to a higher priority, or trying cajole high priority people to get shots.

    IMO, high priority people hesitant to get shots, e.g., LTC workers, are more likely to get them once they’ve seen others get them first.

    Not to mention there would be no question about not wasting any shots because the only people available to receive them are far back in the priority line.

  115. “Basically, they kept adding groups to the top priority tier.”

    ““When everyone is a priority, no one is””

    I can see both sides. But I know here in NY seniors and other groups are having a difficult time getting shots. Yesterday the county center had long lines of seniors waiting outside in the snow.
    And now the governor has added new priority groups. Open slots will be even more difficult to find.

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