Friday, April 23, 2021
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Will The Next COVID Variant Please Stand Up

Vaccines Not Keeping Up With Demand Or Variants

For all the bluster and fanfare that the recent COVID vaccines rolled out under, the reality is that it has been a piss poor production. And that should not be all that surprising. Probably the only successful governmental agency/program has been either the National Weather Service or, perhaps the limited goal of the Department of Defense to win the Cold War. The reality is that no government has ever been good at delivering the goods to its population. The need for Wal Mart to step in and take over the logistics for delivering food and water during Hurricane Katrina is a classic case-in-point. Moreover, though, even with all the graft, greed, and corruption involved in Operation Warp Speed — that funky name given to COVID vaccinations by former President Trump — even the producers of the vaccine could not figure out how much vaccine to put in the bottles for optimum delivery.

The confusion came over labeling: The vaccine comes in vials labeled as containing enough for five doses. But pharmacists discovered that, after thawing and mixing the contents with a diluent, each vial contained enough vaccine for six doses. Without explicit approval from the manufacturer, that final dose had to be discarded.

Even more disconcerting is that some of vaccines cover variants which others do not. A great example is that the AstraZeneca vaccine does not work against the South African strain. A trial showed the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, provides only “minimal” protection against mild to moderate COVID-19 infection caused specifically by the variant that has swept through South Africa. The strain, believed to be more easily transmitted but not to cause significantly more serious illness, has also been detected in the U.S., the U.K. and other nations, but is not believed to be the dominant variant in circulation.

To understand why the world even gives a damn about COVID, it has nothing to do with quality of life or economic output. The concern is 100% about the fact that we simply do not have enough hospital beds. Make no mistake that while many believe that the US is this oasis — this First World Country if you will — nothing could be further from the case. In fact, the US is ranked 32nd in the amount of hospital beds per 1,000. The U.S. has fewer acute care hospital beds per capita than in most comparable countries, with the exception of Canada and Sweden. In the past 17 years, the number of hospitals per capita has decreased in both the U.S. and similar countries, although the average density of hospitals in the U.S. has decreased more rapidly. From 1990 to 2017, the U.S. hospital density has decreased by about 28%, whereas the comparable country average has dropped by about 13%. In the past 18 years, the U.S. has seen comparably little growth in the number of practicing physicians per capita. While the number of physicians per capita has increased by about 34% since 2000 in similarly wealthy countries, growth in the U.S. was about 14%, leading to a widening gap between the U.S. and other OECD countries.

More concerning, overall, is the inability of any nation on earth — yet — to get this vaccine in enough arms to even matter. And while everyone continues to heap the praises on this genetic cocktail, the jury is out whether or not people will get the doses on schedule and whether or not it is all it has been hailed to be.

Only several weeks ago, the UK was recommending to mix and match the vaccines much like a buffet — I am sure no one at Downing Street did it, though. Amid a sputtering vaccine rollout and fears of a new and potentially more transmissible variant of the coronavirus, Britain has quietly updated its vaccination playbook to allow for a mix-and-match vaccine regimen. If a second dose of the vaccine a patient originally received isn’t available, or if the manufacturer of the first shot isn’t known, another vaccine may be substituted, health officials said.

Really? Mix and match kinda like buying vegetables at the local bodega, ‘eh?! I mean it is this type of mentality; it is precisely this type of cavalier attitude, that turns the tide when people downstream are slowly approaching their vaccine date. More on point, though, with Pfizier’s soup baked with mRNA and AstraZeneca’s soup using DNA, many are beginning to ask precisely what is being pumped into their bodies. And with the recent statements from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Katherine O’Brien dismissing the early reports of the South African COVID variant, many are now asking if her discounting of early reporting is for the public welfare or to protect profit margins.

The devil is always in the details. And the problem is that no one, other than high level government officials, have access to what little data there is. Yet another thing which is unknown is whether or not there is any long term protection from the buffets of vaccines out there now. We have reports of those whom have received vaccines now testing positive for COVID itself. A Covid-19 vaccine does not provide full or immediate protection, which means it’s still possible to get infected and test positive for the virus. Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts did. He tested positive after he got his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino, who coaches the men’s team at Iona College in New York, also tested positive after getting his first dose.

I don’t want this article to come off as an anti-vaccine article, as it is not. I believe in vaccines and when I entered the military I received my first small pox vaccine and actually was hospitalized for it. The issue with our standard regimen of vaccines, though, is that there is clear and concise information out there. Additionally, there is no profit competition. The COVID vaccine, though, has been rushed out with almost zero transparency, under emergency conditions, and even the system pushing them out is broken. It is also the first time, in human history, when humans are being required to submit to vaccinations in order to keep working.

A recent poll of about 2,000 New York City firefighters found that nearly 55 percent said they would not get a vaccine if offered one by their department, according to CNN. Only 42 percent of Black Americans say they intend to be vaccinated, according to a Pew Research poll. And 58 percent of Americans over all indicated they would get a Covid-19 vaccine, according to a Gallup Panel survey from November. On Dec. 16, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirmed that a COVID-19 vaccination requirement by itself would not violate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That law prohibits employers from conducting some types of medical examinations.

An additional problem is that whom needs the vaccine and when do they need it? The term Essential Worker doesn’t appear to mean the same thing to the US Government as it does to say the Mortgage Field Services Industry or the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Problematic is the fact that the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) has chosen to remain silent. By way of comparison, the International Association of Field Service Technicians (IAFST) advocated for a contractor’s choice to receive the shot immediately. Many believe that NAMFS members labeled their misclassified employees as Essential to keep the profits churning and now, when their workers need support the most, they have turned their backs — all from the comfort of their homes. Here is what a HUD Senior Official had to say, speaking on condition of anonymity,

The M&M contracts are considered essential to HUD, and were not ordered to stop work during the pandemic.  As such, it may qualify contractor employees/subcontractors access to early vaccinations.  As you know, state laws differ in regard to the vaccination rollouts, so it likely will not be uniform across the board.  For instance, here in Georgia, the only essential employees currently receiving the vaccine are healthcare workers.  I would ask that qualifying individuals follow any state/local regulations regarding registering for the vaccine, and if open to all essential workers, then they would likely qualify.

Once again, where many of the workers are crossing state lines on a daily basis and while reports have been coming in of COVID infections, the water pail is passed off. Profits before People appears to be the common theme, as always. Will Foreclosurepedia be getting the vaccine? Not any time soon. Family members have caught it and weathered the storm. And honestly, unless and until we have some actionable intelligence on the vaccines themselves, I am in no hurry to keep up with the herd. The reality is that as new variants begin to roll out, the amount of booster shots to keep up with the mess will eventually outnumber the ability to even get them. Coming from a generation of chicken pox and measles parties — yes, we were taken around to get infected — the real deal has always struck me as better than the for profit needle jab.

Paul Williams
Linux addict buried deep in the mountains of East Tennessee.



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