The coronavirus vaccine: So we had the capability of sending a man to the moon . . . | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Almanac Online |

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By Diana Diamond

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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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The coronavirus vaccine: So we had the capability of sending a man to the moon . . .

Uploaded: Mar 20, 2021
The incompetency in this country to produce and provide enough COVID-19 vaccines to Americans is most disturbing. As the age-old adage goes, if America can send men to the moon and a spacecraft to Mars with perfect landings, why can’t we get a little bit of vaccine into the arms of Americans without long delays, insufficient supplies, and a lack of the material needed to produce the sharps and vials necessary to use the vaccine?

This is not about me. I had my two shots.

But I have a 94-year old friend who still hasn’t gotten one. She’s been told to go up to the fairgrounds in San Mateo or down to the stadium in Santa Clara. She can’t get there and back via Uber. So she has tried daily for months to get an appointment in Palo Alto, but no luck – no vaccines available.

I have a relative, age 61, who qualifies for health reasons (a recent heart attack and diabetes) and he is still refused a shot. He tries to get an appointment but is kicked out of the sign-up system because he is not 65. There is no space on any form to indicate a health problem. . Wherever he tries – PAMF, Stanford, Safeway, CVS – all tell him that despite his health condition these clinics have not changed their regulations yet – or, more frequently, they have run out of vaccines. On Tuesday he called saying he has an appointment in Fresno on Saturday! On Wednesday that appointment was canceled. – lack of vaccines. By the way, his 21-year-old son, working in Tahoe selling ski lift tickets within a glass booth, got his vaccine three weeks ago because he was in a job that has interaction with the public.

We have a big shortage in the Bay Area (and other parts of the country), and no one seems able to do something about it .Gov. Gavin Newsom decided that 40 percent of state’s allotment should go to where poor people live, hence his zip code idea. But he should know that zip codes are not created to economically segregate people – i.e., by where the poor live. East Palo Alto’s zip code also covers adjacent richer areas, so EPA and East Menlo Park didn’t qualify for vaccine distribution to the poor. If I were governor and had come up with this idea, I would have first asked, “Well, if we define vaccine deliveries by zip code areas, does that cover all the pockets of poor people?” The answer is “no.” but the zip code allotments were applied. The result: most clinics in our area received 20 percent fewer vaccines this time around compared to the previous allotment. This is one of the reasons we have a shortage.

The politicians are trying to garner as much attention as each of them can get by announcing progress, as Biden did in December, when he said he has placed a big vaccine order and soon most of us will be able to be eligible for a vaccine. Eligible, yes, but the Big Pharma’s who are producing these vaccines quietly mention the odder will not be fully filled until June.

Next problem, as I see it, is that we were vaccinating those 75 and over and all of a sudden Newsom proudly and loudly announced 65-year-old and older can also be vaccinated. So, the number who needed vaccines dramatically increased. The state also said that those with certain health conditions are available of a vaccine, but their priority lowered so teachers could get a higher priority.

I know Dr. Fauci and others are trying very hard, and I am glad they are urging everyone to get a vaccine – even those macho males who won’t’ even wear a mask.

So where do we go from here? Biden is still declaring enough vaccines for all will be available by the end of May and by July 4 we will all be eating dogs and hamburgers together.

Don’t I wish – and hope. I am tired of fearing the coronavirus, I am tired of writing about it, and I want our country to solve it. Now. If we can send men to the moon….

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Victor Bishop, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Mar 20, 2021 at 7:09 pm

Victor Bishop is a registered user.

Do you understand how vaccines are produced? Apparently not if you call the lack of vaccine doses is due to “incompetency".
May I suggest you read about vaccine production and see how it is done,
The fact that your friends cannot get vaccinated is not due to production issues.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 21, 2021 at 8:41 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Once again it is worthwhile comparing the vaccine roll out to other states and other countries. Some do a lot better than others. I believe some states have basically finished or at least they are available to anyone, Florida and Alaska come to mind but I could be wrong. The EU is doing a very slow job. The UK is way ahead and possibly can say that Brexit has helped them in this.

As to what is happening here, wait a day and the news changes. It seems that people's experiences vary considerably and local news channels seem to put different slants on what is happening from one day to the next.

We are pawns in all this.

Posted by KOhlson, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 21, 2021 at 11:06 am

KOhlson is a registered user.

The news seems to be rapidly evolving, and I believe for the better. In today's WSJ, it was reported that vaccine makers in the US delivered 48M doses in February, but for March expect to make 132M. Scaling to 100s of millions is not easy, at every step. I am more optimistic - I think that within 4-6 weeks that it will be freely available to anyone who wants it.

Posted by OldPA Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 21, 2021 at 12:45 pm

OldPA Resident is a registered user.

If we can land a man on the moon but can't put a needle in an arm?

JFK speech on going to Moon was in 1962.
The U.S. landed on the moon in 1969.
Seven years from idea to implementation.

First attempts to develop a polio vaccine were in the 1930's
Salk vaccine developed in 1953.
More than two decades from idea to implementation.

HIV epidemic in U.S. started in early 1980's.
Vaccine developed.....not yet.

COVID-19 vaccines were developed, tested, and production started in less than 1 year.

As time goes by even pessimists will realize we have witnessed a miracle.

Posted by Petra Karenter, a resident of Professorville,
on Mar 21, 2021 at 3:45 pm

Petra Karenter is a registered user.

Don't like the vaccine rollout, Diana? Just be grateful that you don't live in a EU country.

Be grateful to the Trump administration's Project Warp Speed which cut through red tape to get the vaccine(s) created in record time.

Some states have done well in getting doses distributed to their populations. California, with its longstanding record of poor governance, has been less successful.

Of course, politics plays a big role. In the name of equity (one of Critical Race Theory's key concepts), some governors and bureaucrats are reallocating vaccine doses for their own ends.

Posted by Alvin, a resident of Professorville,
on Mar 22, 2021 at 8:41 am

Alvin is a registered user.


How informed are you about the so-called "vaccine"? First of all, you should realize that Covid vaccines distributed in US are not vaccines. The classical vaccine is produced from the molecular piece of the virus or bacteria. When this piece is injected to the animal (human), the animal organism produces antibodies against this pathogen, thus creating immunity. The US “vaccine" is RNA genetic construct (product of genetic engineering) that being injected with a hope that may produce some defense against Covid. Long-term consequences have not been tested. [Portion removed.]

By the way Diana, I am one of those "macho males" who doesn't wear a mask, indoors or out, and not because I consider myself macho, but because I believe masks are, as Fauci once said, utterly useless - they cannot block aerosol particles - dangerous (restricts breathing), and used as a false sense of security (Fauci said so). You may disagree, but the physics (mask pore sizes vs virus particle size) and data (mask vs no mask states/countries) support my view. Besides, if masks were so effective, why did cases surge in November through early January when mask compliance rates were well above 90%?

Posted by NanaDi, a resident of Midtown,
on Mar 22, 2021 at 10:46 am

NanaDi is a registered user.

Perhaps your 61-year old relative who has health problems should appeal to his Physician for assistance. My Primary Care Doctor was very proactive in obtaining s supply of the Vaccine for his Patients. Good luck to your relative. ox

Posted by Alan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Mar 23, 2021 at 5:16 pm

Alan is a registered user.

The main problem at this point appears to be the dance between production and distribution. With everyone so keenly interested in getting the vaccine, there was always going to be difficulties in getting it out quickly and fairly. Both aspects appear to be much better in the past couple weeks.

The US is in better shape than the most of the world; not as far along as UK and Israel, but actually doing quite well - about 3x the rate of Europe. We are rather bad at preventing the disease from being spread, but not so bad at making and distributing the vaccine.

A week ago, I thought it would be at least a month before I would get vaccinated. Then a surprise opportunity appeared last Saturday, and I'm done (1 shot J&J vaccine). People have to be persistent at taking care of themselves.

Of course, we should keep pushing authorities to do a better job; but objectively, they could be doing much worse.

Posted by MAJAMES1111, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera,
on Mar 23, 2021 at 5:59 pm

MAJAMES1111 is a registered user.

Diana - I understand your frustration and appreciate how hard it is to see friends and loved ones struggle to obtain vaccines - but three points worth noting - one, the vaccines were developed in record time and built on years of research - science prevailed - two, roll out of the vaccine, and increased development, has actually happened quickly, once we had an administration that acknowledged that the problem was real and made this a top priority - and three - what this has shown is how underfunded our public health system is - we have seen how a public health crisis can crush our economy - deeper support for a robust public health system is a must.

Posted by Squidsie, a resident of another community,
on Mar 24, 2021 at 9:35 am

Squidsie is a registered user.

Say what you want about Trump and his buffoonery, but his Warp Speed program was successful in developing effective vaccines. Contrast this with the "enlightened" EU, which dithered and bickered over "process", and has still only vaccinated a small portion of their population.

Posted by Peter LaRoux, a resident of Stanford,
on Mar 24, 2021 at 10:33 am

Peter LaRoux is a registered user.

Striving towards a herd immunity via mass vaccinations is very unscientific.

If everyone is vaccinated, scientists will never fully know (or be able to establish) if the vaccines were successful or whether the coronavirus simply subsided and/or ran it's course via SIP mandates, the wearing of face masks, proper distancing etc.

To establish efficacy, only 50% of the population should be innoculated as the rush to innoculate everyone will prove inconclusive at best.

Besides, the current vaccines still don't fully protect against Covid-19 and it's successive mutations.

Posted by Mark Levin, a resident of Midtown,
on Mar 24, 2021 at 12:13 pm

Mark Levin is a registered user.

Let the citizens earning over $250K support the country. They can afford to unless overly materialistic and self-serving.

Poorer people should not be forced back to work in order to support the country.

Tax the affluent and be done with it.

Posted by Roger Leung, a resident of another community,
on Mar 25, 2021 at 9:06 am

Roger Leung is a registered user.

Partially attributable to American cultural values.

Unlike other cultures (i.e. Asian, Native American, Hispanic, and African American) most white Americans do not respect or care about their elder citizens.

They tend to worship eternal youth and prefer tossing their old people into rest homes.

The aforementioned non-white cultures look after their elders by taking them into their homes and looking after them.

So it is no wonder that American health bureacracy places the majority of it's elder citizens at the lower end of the totem pole.

Posted by Rabbi Feldman, a resident of another community,
on Mar 25, 2021 at 11:42 am

Rabbi Feldman is a registered user.

The employees who were forced to work during the pandemic because their jobs were considered 'essential' (grocery, pharmacy, health care) got screwed.

They should be receiving more money from the stimulus package while the deadbeats who got to telecommute safely from home...far less.

Posted by Citizen , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 27, 2021 at 3:05 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

It would help if you would please delete misinformation from your blog. Masks help�"empirically, from research�"because they keep the droplets through which the virus spreads from being aerosolized, not because they filter virus particles as one poster above tries to rationalize. You wouldn't be so worried about getting your vaccination so fast if we didn't have so much circulating virus (or circulating misinformation).

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Mar 29, 2021 at 1:39 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Getting both vaccines has been ridiculously frustrated. After Sutter scheduled, then cancelled and then rescheduled my second appointment but I had scored a backup appointment with Walgreen's which I cancelled.

Since I'm still on Walgreen's list, they've called to say they have local availability and a choice between the vaccines. (That's even after I told them I was all set and had my two but still nice of them to persist.)

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 29, 2021 at 3:17 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

These shortages with increased eligibility are going to make the situation worse rather than better in my experience.

I heard of nice weekend jaunts to the coast where there were available vaccines these last two days. Perhaps vaccination tourists will become a thing.

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