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US hospitals, faced with a possible vaccination lottery among their staff

Los Angeles, Dec 10 (EFE) .- United States hospitals finalize plans to decide which workers will receive the covid-19 vaccine first, which could be authorized this Thursday, although it is expected that the initial supplies will not be enough to treat all personnel of “high priority”. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there are about 21 million healthcare providers in the country and about 100 million adults with a high-risk medical history. The US government plans to deliver 3 million of the first doses throughout the territory 48 hours after the emergency approval, which could increase in the following days to 20 million, a figure still below the priority demand. This situation can lead to the addresses of the hospital centers sorting out among their staff who gets vaccinated, as long as the person who is going to receive it has given their approval beforehand. POSSIBLE VACCINE LOTTERY The scenario of a “possible lottery” among health workers can occur, for example, in the Nebraska Medicine network hospitals in Omaha (Nebraska, USA), admitted Nicole Skinner, Director of Quality, Patient Safety and Infection Control of that conglomerate, which has 40 clinics, two hospitals and some 8,000 employees. “Nebraska Medicine is actively working on the assignment process: workers have been placed in a batch based on the risk of exposure to which they are subjected,” Skinner explained in statements to Efe. As it is probable that the hospitals will not receive the necessary amount for their first batch, a vaccine raffle will be held among workers who want to undergo this treatment. Meanwhile, hospital networks such as UCLA Health, in Los Angeles (California), with more than 20,000 employees on staff, are adapting their storage facilities for the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine, which could be authorized this Thursday or at the latest in the next few days by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Our planning is consistent with the guidelines established by local, state and federal public health agencies and therefore we have increased our cold storage capacity to more than one million doses of vaccine,” a member of the team of communication from UCLA Health, who preferred not to reveal his name. The logistical difficulty is easy to understand with the following comparison: Pfizer’s vaccine should be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, which is noticeably colder than the temperature that will be this Thursday at 9:00 p.m. in Antarctica (-35 degrees centigrade). DEBATE AMONG PROFESSIONALS Beyond the probable shortage of doses in the first batches and their complicated distribution and storage, there is a debate within the walls of hospitals and clinics about whether it is a good idea to be among the first vaccinated. On the side in favor is the specialist nurse Nathanael Jaworksi, who works in a clinic at St. David’s Hospital in Austin, the capital of Texas. “The reason I feel comfortable receiving this vaccine is because it would prevent me from developing a severe case of COVID-19 that would require hospitalization. I am confident in the vaccine development process that scientists around the world have worked tirelessly on.” , said the nurse of Romanian origin in an interview with Efe. However, Jaworski himself shared some concerns. “In general, the process to make a vaccine is 10 years; this time they have reduced it to less than a year. It is possible that some procedure has been omitted,” he said. Along these lines of concern, a Nicaraguan nurse from a hospital in Miami (Florida, USA) spoke to Efe, who preferred not to make her name public. “I am not going to get the vaccine for a few months or years, and in our hospital they will not force us. Other doctors and colleagues do not want to because of the possible side effects that are not yet known,” concluded the health professional. Alex Segura Lozano (c) EFE Agency

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