Some problems, like building the first atomic bomb, are hard.
Other problems, like distributing vaccines, are not.
Currently, in North Carolina, there are more than 300,000 doses of life-saving vaccines, sitting in freezers, and not where they should be (in people’s arms).
This is not a hard problem, and from a country that went to the moon 5 years after we decided we wanted to, it’s simply inexcusable.
Bureaucratic procedures, rules, and concerns about fairness have superseded saving lives. Unfortunately, the Cooper administration appears to value rule-following more than it values life.
With a new, more virulent strain of COVID-19 already present in the United States, we should be racing to get these vaccines into people. Each person vaccinated reduces the spread of the virus, yet our state government can’t get them out of their warehouses blaming “logistics problems.”
Cumbersome logistics aren’t required. In fact, a class of kindergartners has the mental horsepower to get the vaccine distributed quickly. Get a truck, put the vaccine in a truck, drive to the nearest hospital, start injecting doses as quickly as humanly possible. Don’t have enough trucks? Rent a Uhaul! Need people? Ask for volunteers! Worried someone will get it who isn’t on your coveted list? Don’t be!
The crucial understanding missing, is that having vaccines in humans and not in warehouses, is the only thing that matters. Instead, we’ve decided to plan, take our time, and let our elders die, drowning in their own respiratory mucus.
A Practical Plan
North Carolina is struggling to distribute vaccines. Governor Cooper has broad executive power to fix this. In fact, that’s why we have a governor at all. In times like these, in emergencies, a strong central response is required. Anything less is an embarrassment.
Currently, there are 1600 troopers that are under the governor’s direct control. 1600 people that report directly to him. Governor Cooper should immediately have each trooper go to the nearest warehouse with vaccines. Have each trooper take approximately 20 vials. As each trooper comes in, you send out each one to a different hospital or long term care facility. This information is readily available and could easily be managed with a simple Google doc. As we have witnessed, the word will spread, people will come to the hospitals and reduce the length of the supply lines. Each trooper, with about 190 vaccines, should be able to distribute them in a period of two days of hard work, maybe three if things go poorly.
Objections to this are primarily focused on the second dose. How do we find folks to give them the second dose? It may be better for an individual to have two doses, but we know that some protection is conferred with one dose, and that for herd immunity, it is more effective to have more people with one dose, than less with two.
The revealed preference is that process is more important than saving the lives of our loved ones, and our fellow North Carolinians. America has become a farce, a simulacrum of a working country. If COVID can’t snap us out of our decadence, what can?