The Covid-19 vaccine

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Jeff in Burnsville MN, raising a concern with his legislator about the timeline for Covid-19 vaccine.  I am reprinting his letter, and the legislators response with Jeff’s permission.  NOTE TO READERS.  Constituent letters are aways effective.  Best to write to your own representatives at whatever level: your state legislator, your congressperson, etc.  These days, via e-mail is probably the best way to communicate.

Jeff’s letter to his State Senator and Representative Jan. 14:

I am writing this email to both my representatives together to ask why  Minnesota is lagging in its distribution of its allocated Covid 19 vaccines.  According to the NY Times as of January 13 only 32% of the allocation has been distributed.  Michigan, North Dakota and South Dakota are all higher, I just saw the Governor of Kentucky say that his state’s 50%+ vaccination rate was not acceptable.  

Moreover, when I interact with family and friends I find there is no idea of when anyone will get vaccinated.  My daughter in law is an RN working in Ramsay county (she lives in Eagan) and she got her first shot last week, but I was told by a dentist yesterday that healthcare workers in Dakota county in the same risk category have not been told when they will get the shot.  My spouse is an RN working in disabled group homes in Dakota County and has been told  by her employer she is in the 3rd wave and will be notified when she will get vaccinated.  (according to the MN health dept website she qualifies as 1c I think as group residential homes and staff are specifically mentioned in there) The employer cannot tell her when, and obviously doesnt know. (news reports show disabled adults are in one of the highest risk categories for infection and mortality)  Friends who are 65 and 75 + age groups with and without health conditions continue to tell me they dont know. 
It frankly is a mystery. 
On the other hand friends who are 65+ with no health conditions in my birth county in rural Michigan are being vaccinated now and are able to call their local hospital and get appointments to come for their first shots in the next week. 
Can you please find out what is causing this lack of any definition?  And also the low % of distribution for Minnesota compared to other states?   Please contact the Governor and the MN Health Dept and see what answers can be given.  
Hey, I am a strong Democrat so I know the botching of the Covid response by the current National administration is a factor, hopefully that will improve under Pres. Biden, but it still doesnt explain the low vaccination rate here, and the seeming lack of good information or planning on when citizens in the various groups can estimate when they will get the vaccine or even how they find out?
Thank you. 
Response from Jeff’s State Senator on the same day.
Thank you for reaching out. I first want to say that this is an issue I am following very closely and advocating strongly for. I wanted to get back to you right away with a quick response, and let you know that I have requests in for more answers and am happy to pass those along as I receive them. As of the beginning of this week, Minnesota had not physically received much of our recent allocation. So while we have been allocated a number of doses, and they show up on the tracking, we have not actually received them from the federal government in Minnesota. That should change now as doses that were previously being held back by the Trump administration are now being released to states. 
However, I do not believe we have adequate answers for how we will be catching up and getting our population, both those frontline workers and the general population, vaccinated as soon as possible. I can assure you this is something I am watching closely, and I’m happy to get back to you again later this week or early next week as I receive a response to my inquiries.
Kind Regards,
from Mary: I have a background in Social work and Public health and wish to request you spearhead an effort to identify and locate Seniors over 70 living independently in community…then share with the public health department who is developing strategy..Our state has no existing structures to prepare for their vaccination fo Covid…Churches would have the initial trust, would design release of information and could also continuously update the contact information of these folks….through the use of existing social justice volunteers, parish nurses, secretaries  etc…This is a very compassionate action to offer our health connection efforts…..

Since I started work in the 70’s we have diminished public health services. The pathway to vacinate these independant seniors is not built  To build this network through funding in the state is not likely to be quick enough..Health providers are stretched.
Vacines are offered to the batches of people easy to find currently…
Please spread this idea widely….
I helped develop and expand services for the disabled in dakota county. In 1970 we found those unserved folks by having the Mrs JCCs call every home and ask if anyone had a disabling condition….now ,that is not feasible .  I know churches and YMCA are attempting to keep phone contact….lets bring our community to focused action..
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