Opinion | Keystone Kops Vaccine Rollout
More from our inbox:
To the Editor:
Re “Older People Who Want Shots Run Into a Tangle of Red Tape” (front page, Jan. 15):
Getting an appointment to get the Covid-19 vaccination in New York State involves multiple websites, links and surveys. One has to be computer literate and have some degree of health and general literacy, diligence and a lot of time to get an appointment; it appears that the convoluted systems were designed by the Keystone Kops or Lucy and Ethel.
The couples I know who are 65 and over who are lucky enough to find an available site are getting the vaccine on different dates and at different facilities. This involves extra costs, traveling and virus exposure.
And most important, what about the folks who lack the resources and time to manage the maze of online sources and information? Clearly, we need a much more organized and systematic approach.
Michele G. Greene
Port Washington, N.Y.
The writer is deputy chair for undergraduate health, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Brooklyn College.
Grand Infected Party
To the Editor:
Re “10% of Congress Has Been Infected at Some Time” (news article, Jan. 14):
It is noteworthy that while up to three times as many congressional Republicans as Democrats have been infected by Covid-19, this does not reflect their proportion in the Senate and the House. The Republicans appear to have a far greater infection rate.
Covid-19 Vaccines ›
Answers to Your Vaccine Questions
While the exact order of vaccine recipients may vary by state, most will likely put medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities first. If you want to understand how this decision is getting made, this article will help.
Life will return to normal only when society as a whole gains enough protection against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they’ll only be able to vaccinate a few percent of their citizens at most in the first couple months. The unvaccinated majority will still remain vulnerable to getting infected. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines are showing robust protection against becoming sick. But it’s also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they’re infected because they experience only mild symptoms or none at all. Scientists don’t yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for the time being, even vaccinated people will need to wear masks, avoid indoor crowds, and so on. Once enough people get vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society achieve that goal, life might start approaching something like normal by the fall 2021.
Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will potentially get authorized this month clearly protect people from getting sick with Covid-19. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. That remains a possibility. We know that people who are naturally infected by the coronavirus can spread it while they’re not experiencing any cough or other symptoms. Researchers will be intensely studying this question as the vaccines roll out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will need to think of themselves as possible spreaders.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is delivered as a shot in the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection won’t be any different from ones you’ve gotten before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported any serious health problems. But some of them have felt short-lived discomfort, including aches and flu-like symptoms that typically last a day. It’s possible that people may need to plan to take a day off work or school after the second shot. While these experiences aren’t pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and mounting a potent response that will provide long-lasting immunity.
No. The vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer use a genetic molecule to prime the immune system. That molecule, known as mRNA, is eventually destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse to a cell, allowing the molecule to slip in. The cell uses the mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any moment, each of our cells may contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce in order to make proteins of their own. Once those proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules our cells make can only survive a matter of minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is engineered to withstand the cell’s enzymes a bit longer, so that the cells can make extra virus proteins and prompt a stronger immune response. But the mRNA can only last for a few days at most before they are destroyed.
As masking seems to have somehow become a politicized policy, it would be interesting to know what proportion of Americans in general who have become infected tend to the right or left of the political spectrum. There may be a lesson here.
Edith Rogovin Frankel
Colts Neck, N.J.
The Republicans With Integrity Who Saved Us
To the Editor:
I’m a lifelong Democrat who has never voted for a Republican in a national election — and probably never will. Nonetheless, now that President Trump’s attempt to steal the election has finally, definitively failed, I believe that the nation owes a deep debt of gratitude to the many Republicans who stood up for electoral integrity over the last two months.
Those to whom we owe thanks include relatively unknown state-level election officials who refused to be bullied into saying the vote counts or machines were rigged; scores of judges, including numerous Trump appointees, who swatted away the barrage of bogus claims by Trump lawyers; and the majority of Republican legislators in the swing states who resisted Mr. Trump’s pressure to flout the actual vote results and send to the Electoral College slates of electors loyal to him.
If just one of these groups had succumbed to Mr. Trump’s strong-arm tactics, we might now be facing a hideously stolen second term for Donald Trump. That would have been the death knell for American democracy.
Why I Love New York
To the Editor:
Re “More of Her Metropolitan Life” (Arts pages, Jan. 8):
Part of what makes New York New York is that it is always changing. I do not have Fran Lebowitz’s voice or her mind and wit — much as I wish I did — but I do have more years of living in this extraordinary city, having lived in four of the five boroughs, and I have always felt that the city’s neighborhoods are like amoebas, constantly changing shape as they move from here to there and then to there.
Leave the city for a couple of years, and then, when you return, it is a different one. Not unlike a living entity. That is why this metropolis feels so alive and enticing for both tourists and longtime residents.
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