HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — There has been a lot of frustration with the current system of vaccine distribution.
When Texas began offering vaccines to people in phase 1B, 19 million people qualified to receive the vaccine at a time when Texas only had around a million vaccines available for the whole state.
“The state sent out vaccines to providers but they didn’t provide any resource or guidance to help them with the logistical issues of actually setting up and administering the vaccines,” said Allison Winnike, the President and CEO of Immunization Partnership, a nonprofit that aims to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases by developing and coordinating our communities’ resources through public and private partnerships.
“Every level of government,” she continued, “they’ve really been passing the buck, and not providing enough resources and guidance down to the next level. And we’re paying for it down here at the local level.”
Winnike tells KVEO that one of the main concerns the Immunization Partnership has received is about the comprehensiveness of the vaccine trial. People are concerned that the vaccine trial happened too quickly, and didn’t test amongst a wide enough variety of ethnic groups. That’s not the case.
“We had an unprecedented diverse group of thousands and thousands of people who have enrolled in these clinical trials,” said Winnike.
As for the speed of the trial, the COVID-19 vaccines are not entirely new. Back in the early 2000s, an outbreak of another disease caused by a coronavirus happened. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, is the same type of disease as COVID-19 is.
In the decade-plus since the outbreak of SARS, work has been done on a vaccine for the disease. This vaccine platform was modified and updated to fight COVID-19 over the past year. So in a sense, these vaccines have gone through a decade of research.
Winnike urges anyone who may be hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine to go ahead and get it as soon as they possibly can.
“The COVID-19 vaccine will save your life. It will save your family’s life,” she said.