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In elite medical centers, even unqualified workers must be vaccinated

People in their 20s work on computers. A young researcher who studies cancer. Technicians in basic research laboratories.

These are some of the thousands of people who have been immunized against coronavirus at Columbia University, New York University, Harvard University and Vanderbilt University Hospitals, even if millions of frontline workers and older Americans are waiting It’s their turn.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued recommendations to ensure that the country’s vaccines first vaccinate high-risk groups: medical staff interacting with Covid-1

9 patients, residents and staff of nursing homes, followed by 75 and 75-year-olds and Certain essential workers.

Each state has established its own version of the guidelines, but as the pace of introduction has been slow, there is increasing pressure to adopt more flexible methods. Officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration recently suggested that it might be wiser to relax the standards and distribute vaccines as widely as possible.

However, these officials did not anticipate that the vaccine would be vaccinated among healthy people in their 20s and 30s, not the elderly, important staff or other high-risk groups. FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told reporters on Friday that states should still prioritize “meaningful” organizations.

However, a few of the most prestigious academic hospitals in the United States have further expanded this concept. Opportunities are provided to staff who are not related to patient care and are under 75 years of age. Some institutions are the first recipients of limited supplies in the United States.

Ruth Faden, a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said: “In the launch of this vaccine, there is no nepotism or connection.” “If we do it wrong, the consequences could be disaster. Sexual, so it’s vital that people are highly sensitive to the rules of the game here.”

Dr. Stanley Perlman, an immunologist at the University of Iowa and a member of the research committee, said that the CDC has never intended to include workers who do not interact with patients (such as administrators and graduate students) in the first phase of the Prioritize vaccination. Suggest.

He said: “It’s all confusing.” “In retrospect, I think we might need to think about our ideas more precisely because we never considered hospital managers.”

In Nashville, Vanderbilt University Medical Center requires all staff, whether they are treating patients or not, to be vaccinated. Vaccination began in December, when the Tennessee Hospital Association approved vaccinations for all hospital employees, regardless of their role.

On January 6, the medical center announced plans to start vaccinating its high-risk patients, but only if the center has “used the initial dose of vaccine to more than 15,000 people working at the medical center.” patient.

John Howser, Chief Communications Officer of the Medical Center, said: “We will continue to follow Tennessee when vaccinating the Vanderbilt Health workforce and other priority patients, patients, employees, and community health care personnel. Guidance from the Ministry of Health.” said in a statement.

But the Tennessee Department of Health has a different view. The department spokesperson Bill Christian said: “Since the start of the induction process, the hospital has been encouraged to use the remaining vaccines to vaccinate high-priority groups.”

He added: “Some hospitals explain their “staff” extensively.

He said the Tennessee Department “continues to praise hospitals that only give priority to frontline high-risk workers and provide the remaining vaccinations to help meet community needs and vaccinate high-priority populations.”

“I want our elderly relatives to receive the vaccine before me,” said a young employee in Vanderbilt. He had no contact with the patient and refused to reveal his identity for fear of retaliation.

According to Boston University, in Boston, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital have immunized more than 34,000 employees, including those involved in patient care, researchers who may be exposed to coronavirus samples, and Personnel engaged in clinical trials. Hospital spokesperson Rich Copp.

the reason? With the coronavirus epidemic, the hospital may need some laboratory scientists. Mr. Copp said: “Our first wave of experience suggests that certain members of the research community may need to be redeployed to support Covid’s work in patient care settings.”

Despite this, the medical center announced a plan to immunize the remaining employees from Monday.

In New York State, only a small percentage of the estimated 2.1 million frontline workers are immunized. Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to impose a fine of up to $100,000 on hospitals that did not receive the vaccine in time to use the vaccine.

At Columbia University, the news quickly spread in research laboratories far away from patient care: If you show up at Milstein Hospital, the university’s main medical center, you can be vaccinated-no need to worry about whether your work is related to patients.

Several university employees said that graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers will soon line up in the hospital auditorium. Almost everyone in a cancer research center attached to the hospital received the vaccine.

Hospital officials said they eventually knew the emails that led people to the auditorium, but those who did not need the vaccine were turned away.

Kate Spaziani, vice president of hospital communications, said: “So far, we have been providing vaccinations for thousands of employees, starting with employees who face patients, and have been working hard to improve vaccinations. Process.”

She added: “We will continue to do this until everyone receives the vaccine. We are following all the guidelines of the New York State Department of Health regarding the priority of vaccines.”

But some recipients are angry to learn that they are not qualified in the national policy.

A young researcher said: “My understanding now is that it is not our turn. I am very afraid of turning.” His work has nothing to do with Covid-19. “Frankly, I am also a little angry about the hospitals and universities not being properly controlled.”

At New York University’s Langone Medical Center, outreach activities with staff who have no contact with patients are intentional.

The center’s website says: “We currently only provide the Covid-19 vaccine to frontline employees.” “Once we provide the vaccine to the patient, we will immediately notify the patient.”

However, in an email to the staff of the medical center on December 28, Andrew Rubin, the senior vice president of the medical center, stated that the center has vaccinated 15,000 employees who interact with patients and will start Vaccinate all other employees. There is no mention of seniors or other priority groups designated by New York State.

An email sent to a staff member of the New York University Medical Center who has not registered for a vaccine on Tuesday said: “As an employee of a medical institution, you have the opportunity to get the vaccine that millions of people across the country want, and you can get it right away.

An email warned that once these employees were unable to qualify for the vaccine as soon as possible, the state warned that once the state expanded the eligibility criteria, “depending on demand and availability, you may have to wait weeks or even months before receiving the vaccine. To. “

State officials were frustrated that both New York University and Columbia University opened up vaccination to low-risk workers, which was administered before the millions of state residents who needed the vaccine.

On Friday, New York expanded its vaccination guidelines to include basic workers and those over 75.

Gary Holmes, a spokesperson for the state Department of Health, said the guidelines “still do not provide full vaccinations for all employees of hospital entities.” “Although we do not understand all the facts here, if a violation occurs, the Department of Homeland Security will investigate it.”

In private, some state officials were angry. An official, who asked not to be named, said that these agencies should have asked the state government to take the next step immediately after immunizing front-line workers because he has no right to discuss the matter.

The official said: “The only reason they have as many vaccines as possible is because they are the custodians of the vaccine-because they have the ability to refrigerate.” “This is not the vaccine that NYU uses for NYU.”

The problem is not limited to academic medical centers. Checks in some hospitals are so few that many people avoid the line of defense due to false statements about the vaccine.

For example, in Maricopa County, Arizona, an online form suggests that applicants use a personal email address instead of an email address affiliated with a hospital, and does not require an employee identification number.

“Yes, we want to vaccinate people, but we must ensure that high-risk groups can enter,” said Saskia Popescu, a hospital epidemiologist at the University of Arizona. Such a chaotic process “damages trust in the public health process, and I think it is really heartbreaking.”

Employees of several universities, including some who received the vaccine unknowingly, were also troubled by the process they considered unfair and unfair.

“This is really a naked display of privilege, did you know?” A Columbia University faculty member said he did not get the vaccine and asked not to be named because of fear of reprisals from management. “This is because we are in top universities and medical centers.”

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