Vaccine Politicization

Safety v. Politics

Once again politics are blocking safety. McKnight’s reported that 2 million healthcare workers will refuse to receive or administer a COVID-19 vaccine. Caregivers demand verification and validation from independent third-party experts. The myriad of multiple reports of political appointees interfering in CDC safety guidance is “corrupting a process which should be based solely on science.

The Service Employees International Union, American Federal of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said in a joint statement that they are “deeply troubled by the evident politicization” of the vaccine process. The statement blasted the safety protocols in place.

“While pharmaceutical companies have signed a statement of principles on safety and efficacy, they are also competing for billions of dollars in government contracts. Given this record of politicization of public health, it is impossible for us to take or promote any vaccine without additional assurance for independent experts that the approval process has not been tainted.

We need a transparent, evidence-based federal vaccine strategy based on principles of equity, safety and priority, as well as robust efforts to address a high degree of skepticism about safety of an authorized vaccine. We know that we need a safe, effective vaccine to end this pandemic. When one is available that is clearly proven to be both, we are ready to both take the vaccine and to administer it.”

However, caregivers will work with federal, state and local bodies once a safe vaccine is identified and verified. The leadership of the healthcare communities serve to educate the public. They “promote a fair and effective vaccination program for distributing this desperately needed vaccine.”

Medicare Billing

CMS will now allow immunizers to directly bill for vaccinating residents in nursing facilities. The agency disclosed it would “exercise enforcement discretion” in regards to current regulations that prevent fraud and waste. The federal government then announced an agreement with CVS and Walgreens to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care facilities free of charge. Will the residents even have a choice?

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists said this shows the Trump Administration’s continued “preferential treatment to large corporations rather than working to ensure the best public health outcomes for our seniors.” 

ASCP Chief Executive Chad Worz explained the “announcement illustrates the administration’s prioritization of ease over effectiveness when combating the COVID-19 public health pandemic.” He then added”

We are disappointed that CMS’ guidance from Friday appears to be aimed at benefiting chain retail pharmacies with little experience serving vulnerable residents in SNFs and ALFs. We remain positive that our work…will continue to create opportunities for better health outcomes for our nations seniors and better relationships for our dedicated senior care pharmacies and pharmacists.”

Let’s hope a safe and effective vaccine gets here soon. Until the, wear a mask and practice social distancing.  Be safe. And remember to vote.