Why Romney Takes Issue with the COVID Vaccination Distribution Plan

Posted: Jan 02, 2021 12:15 PM
Why Romney Takes Issue with the COVID Vaccination Distribution Plan

Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Everyone's favorite senator, Mitt Romney (R-UT), on Friday criticized the rollout of the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine. According to Romney, the vaccine's development is a hat tip to the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but the distribution process itself is severely flawed.

"It was unrealistic to assume that the health care workers already overburdened with Covid care could take on a massive vaccination program," Romney, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, explained.

"So too is the claim that CVS and Walgreens will save the day: they don’t have excess personnel available to inoculate millions of Americans. Nor are they equipped to deal with the rare but serious reactions which may occur. Doctor offices are well-suited but the rate of patient throughput in doctor offices is predictably slow," he explained in a statement.

Instead, the senator believes the federal government should have created a distribution model that was then handed down to states to implement. Not doing so is "incomprehensible" and "inexcusable." 

The most amazing part: Romney admits he has no experience distributing or coordinating the logistics behind millions of products. But he knows "when something isn't working."

"I have experience organizing a major logistical event but nothing on the scale of what is called for today. Nor do I have any relevant medical or public health experience. But I know that when something isn’t working, you need to acknowledge reality and develop a plan—particularly when hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake," he explained.

His suggestion is to call in people who have distributed vaccines at the state and local levels to hear from them about how they went about their distribution process. Then he believes that retired and active medical professionals who are "not currently engaged in the delivery of care" should be utilized for vaccinations. 

"This could include veterinarians, combat medics and corpsmen, medical students, EMS professionals, first responders, and many others who could be easily trained to administer vaccines. Congress has already appropriated funding for states so that these professionals can be fully compensated," Romney said. "Establish vaccination sites throughout the state, perhaps in every school. Make sure that a medical professional is in each school building to be able to respond to a reaction that might occur."

An example he used was prioritizing people based on need and then further categorizing them by birthdate so those Americans would know when to receive their vaccine. 

Romney went on to chide the roll out, saying there is no reason health care providers and personnel and long-term care residents are not fully vaccinated yet.

“Public health professionals will easily point out the errors in this plan—so they should develop better alternatives based on experience, modeling and trial. The current program is woefully behind despite the fact that it encompasses the two easiest populations to vaccinate: frontline workers and long-term care residents," he said. "Unless new strategies and plans are undertaken, the deadly delays may be compounded as broader and more complex populations are added. We are already behind; urgent action now can help us catch up.”

This isn't as cut and dry as Romney makes it out to be. We have a brand new vaccine that is being distributed by multiple pharmaceutical companies. Not only is there a rush to get as many people as humanly possible vaccinated in a reasonable time, but there are other logistical concerns to take into consideration, like the fact that each person needs two doses of the same vaccine. There can't be a mix of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.