In my life, I have been blessed to have had several "wise women" who have always kindly shared their wisdom with me. They have actually been a major influence on me personally and professionally and I continue to learn from them.
One of the wise women in my circle is Glennah Trochet, the former Health Officer for Sacramento County. I have known Glennah for many years and always enjoyed our collegial relationship. She is a true public health hero.
After reading an article in this morning's Sacramento Bee titled "Here's why Sacramento's COVID vaccine rollout has been so slow." and invoking Habit 5: Seek first to understand.... of Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People".... I asked her "what's up, Glennah?"
Here is her quite insightful and well focused response below. It is well beyond an admonition to "Be nice to people" (usually good advice) as it is a systems explanation which is ideal for someone like me (INTJ) who "likes the facts". And that's how she started.
Feel free to share it with/without attribution, I have asked her permission to do so and she said, "Yes".
From Glennah Trochet, MD:
These are the facts: In California virtually every Public Health department is understaffed. Despite this, public health staff are working day and night on this pandemic. They still have other obligations, so most are working two full-time jobs.They have been trying to implement non-pharmaceutical interventions such as public health mandates to close down, isolation and quarantine. Many spend their days doing case investigations and contact tracing while the public flouts public health mandates to close down, wear masks and stay home. Their so-called partners in law enforcement refuse to support them; so those who don't follow the rules do so without consequences. We were also told to plan to vaccinate the public and counted on our partners in medicine to do most of the vaccinating.
So here we are: we have a surge in cases, and our medical partners are busy trying to stop people from dying. The same people who are doing case investigations and contact tracing must now also vaccinate the population. We don't know when we will get vaccines, how much we will have at any time, but we must not waste a single dose. The vaccines that are currently available require very special handling. Despite all this, we have managed to vaccinate half a million people in California in the three weeks that we have had some vaccine available. That is an amazing feat given everything that has been going on for the past 10 months.
Instead of complaining that the vaccine rollout is too slow, people should be congratulating Public Health workers for continuing to work despite the lack of support from all sides. If folks have to wait two to 4 weeks for their turn to be vaccinated, that is not a failure. We need to reshape our expectations. If we didn't have a surge in cases right now, vaccinations would be faster, if the vaccine doses were available in large quantities, which they are not. That's my explanation of what is going on.