How to Resolve Reluctance, Refusal, and Access to Vaccines in Communities Like Detroit
Michigan’s efforts to vaccinate residents are gaining momentum. At the end of last week, the state had administered more than 6 million doses, and we get almost half of all Michiganders who receive at least one dose of a vaccine. One third is now fully vaccinated.
“If we really want to solve the problem, the proof is in the pudding, we have to increase those numbers and we have to think of this problem as one problem rather than two separate problems that have two separate solutions. “—Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, former director of the Detroit Department of Health
But Detroit and other cities are lagging behind. Only 30% of Detroiters received at least a single dose. To try to remedy the slow deployment, the city offers walk-in vaccines to residents at TCF Center, Northwest Activity Center, Farewell Recreation Center and Samaritan Center. No appointment is necessary for these clinics. But there is concern that vaccines are still not easily accessible enough for many Detroiters. And the biggest concern is that there might not be a lot of demand here. This question of hesitation or refusal to be vaccinated could lead to a longer-than-necessary pandemic.
Listen: Possible solutions to hesitations, refusals and problems accessing immunization.
Dr Abdul El-Sayed is a public health physician and former director of the Detroit Department of Health. He says the city and others like it have a “last mile problem,” which he says can be addressed through public policy initiatives.
“It’s actually a real challenge for anyone trying to deliver anything, namely that the last mile of any delivery is always the most complex, ”says El-Sayed, who notes that access to public transport and normal office hours are limited, especially for people. live in poverty. “If we’re really going to solve the vaccine problem in a community like Detroit, we’ve got to be really, really serious about this last mile problem.
“I have the feeling that we have to provide the solution to the problem of demand and the solution to the problem of supply in a single space, ”he continues. “I would love to see vaccinators go door to door with available vaccines, figure out how to make sure these vaccines can stay refrigerated in a van and say, ‘Look, here’s why we think it’s so important to you to do that, we have a vaccine here and you are interested. “
“If we think about having the vaccine available at that point when someone gets past their hesitation about vaccination and is ready and the solution to the last mile problem is there for them, I think we will be much more successful. Of course, logistically it’s really hard to do. And that is why I am not taking anything away from the efforts made by national and local authorities. But that’s to say that if we really want to solve the problem, there is some evidence in the pudding, we have to get these numbers and we have to see this problem as one problem rather than two separate problems that have two separate solutions ” , says El-Sayed.
Daniel Engber is editor-in-chief at The Atlantic. He wrote an article last month titled “America is now in the hands of hesitant vaccines.”
“I’m kind of a vaccine-hesitant nihilist, ”says Engber. “I have come to think that these numbers (from public opinion polls) are so sticky. They don’t really move… In January, it seemed that vaccine acceptance was on the rise. It seemed to me, intuitively, that when the end of the pandemic appeared, people would be more excited about a way out.
“It’s not really the case, ”he continues, noting that public policy can make a difference in how many people get vaccinated. He says he thinks the difference will likely be between a “floor” of 70% of fully vaccinated adults and a “ceiling” of around 80%.