Listen: Who Gets the Next Shot?

And a great deal of individuals who truly require the vaccine today are not placed to be able to determine how to examine every 2 seconds on a site or wait permanently for a telephone call or browse the system in a language they don’t understand. We have a great deal of equity obstacles buried in the information. And after that we have the equity challenges that originated from the warranted suspect of neighborhoods of color and bad individuals with regard to organizations typically and public-health programs in specific.

Hamblin: We had a concern from a listener inquiring about if and how it’s being monitored who’s been immunized and who has not. Exists any conversation about the principles of having a computer system registry of who has and hasn’t been immunized?

Faden: It’s a fantastic concern. There are 2 pieces to this. One: Definitely, as a public-health matter, we need to keep track. That’s nonnegotiable. Now, the concern is: What other information do you gather? Age, ethnic culture, area? There’s that problem. And after that there’s this problem of: Should any benefits arise from the reality that you’ve been completely immunized? Which’s the discussion about “vaccination passports” or “vaccination passes” of some kind.

Hamblin: Like that you might not need to use a mask if you’ve been immunized? Or something like that that could in fact incentivize individuals to get the vaccine?

Faden: Or perhaps you need to use a mask, however if you have actually been exposed and normally you would be a contact and need to quarantine for 2 weeks, you would get a quarantine pass, for instance. I don’t think anybody is going to say you don’t have to use a mask. We don’t know enough about that yet.

Hamblin: Yeah, we don’t know yet, however just in terms of the idea of what kind of things it might eventually be …

Faden: Yeah, it could be something like that. And that’s a kind of calculated gamble too. No one is proposing that in the U.S.

Higgins: If you could prove you were vaccinated, could you travel to another country, for instance?

Faden: From a global point of view, it’s a complete structural-injustice mess. Because if we’re going to start privileging people—which makes a lot of sense, depending on what we learn about onward transmission and these vaccines, which we don’t know enough about yet … If we start basically saying that if you’ve been fully vaccinated, then you can start traveling globally. And we have actually a context in which a very tiny percentage of the world’s population outside of high-income countries gets access to the vaccine, who’s going to be able to travel globally?

It’s an awful picture. The director-general of the WHO gave an address [recently], and he made a stunning point. There were 39 million doses of vaccine administered in 49 high-income countries as of [a few] days ago. Can you guess how many doses have been administered so far in a lowest-income country?

Twenty-five total. Against 39 million. So I don’t believe people have begun to get their heads around how wide the disparity is and how urgent it is to try to do something about this. We’re concerned about what to do because this doctor gave it to his family. I mean, there are definitely ethical issues there, and I don’t mean to dismiss them, but we need to put that in viewpoint also.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.