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A Better Way to Vaccinate Americans

Use the "normal" system for vaccinations.

I've closely followed the rollout of coronavirus vaccines here in the United States. I think government has made the "typical mistake" of trying to do it via government resources. This has led to mass vaccination sites, the rollout of government registration websites and millions of frustrated people trying to find a location where they can get a vaccination.

The knee-jerk reaction to try and do it all "themselves" is what is wrong. In recent days, there has been word that coming soon would be vaccines being shipped to pharmacies — duh! That should have been their first choice. People could have gone to locations where they normally shop and get flu vaccinations or registered in person at a table staffed with a "real person" and been able to make an appointment to get a shot. So much frustration and wasted time could have been avoided.

Then, government could have focused its efforts on reaching populations who are underserved by having mobile sites that are in those communities. 

I equate this to governments setting up food and water distribution sites post-hurricane in the parking lot of the local Walmart, instead of working to enable Walmart to service their normal customer base.  

Someday we will learn to partner better with the private sector, but that needs to be our first instinct and not only occur two months into a national vaccination effort. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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