Want to save more Illinoisans from COVID? Vaccinate the elderly first.
For months, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has used lockdowns as his main way to handle the COVID pandemic, ignoring calls for him to focus on the elderly instead. The governor’s approach has been a major policy failure, resulting in far too much tragedy. Nearly 90 percent of the state’s 18,000 COVID victims were over the age of 60, with nearly 50 percent of all COVID deaths tied to long-term care facilities.
Now that vaccines are finally available, Pritzker is repeating the same mistake again. Rather than make the elderly and the frontline staff that take care of them his number one priority for vaccinations, the governor is including a host of “essential workers” – and prisoners, even – at the same level of priority. He’s calling it an “equity-centric vaccination approach.”
It’s a huge mistake to give all those groups equal priority. Unless they happen to be elderly, every vaccine given to the 1.3 million “essential” workers will be one that can’t be given to one of the 1.9 million Illinoisans over age 65 – the group by far most at risk from dying.
Pritzker’s inoculation approach is similar to those used in other states, where other factors like occupation only add more bureaucratic rules that slow the vaccination process down. In New York, that’s led to doses going to waste or sitting idly on shelves. Overall delays have been so significant across the nation that the Wall Street Journal reported last week “only 9.3 million of the 27.7 million vaccine doses that have been shipped to states have been administered.” – READ MORE
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