Might our worst failing in the coronavirus pandemic yet be ahead of us? Here we are, with two approved COVID-19 vaccinations — developed in record time and now in full production by their manufacturers — and yet we have insufficient means of delivery. Imagine how World War II might have turned out had we built all those planes, tanks and bombs and had no means of getting them around the world.

Our problem now isn’t even that big. Around the world? We just have to go around the block — or have people come to the vaccine! — to solve this issue, yet it’s as though we’ve put little thought or investment into a solution.

This failing is so egregious — at a time when COVID-positive cases and hospitalizations are setting daily records — Gov. Roy Cooper has activated the National Guard to help administer vaccines.

So here we sit, a nation so brimming with potential yet utterly incapable of the urgency needed to execute.

Finally, a Plan

The first shots — Phase 1A — have logically gone to health care professionals at risk of exposure to COVID-19, and employees and residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes everyone over the age of 75 and front-line “essential workers.”

It took longer for us to get there than some surrounding counties, but on Tuesday we finally began vaccinating individuals over the age of 75. Indeed, while other counties had begun vaccinating their seniors, it wasn’t until last Thursday when a local plan was rolled out.

Shots for people being vaccinated through FirstHealth or Pinehurst Medical Clinic are going to be administered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at The Fair Barn in Pinehurst.

Senior citizens who do not have health insurance or who have other primary care providers will receive the vaccine at no cost through the health department. Clinics for residents being vaccinated through the Health Department will be held four days a week at the agency’s headquarters in Carthage.

The Health Department has launched a website and phone hotline to pre-register residents.

“We know that COVID-19 represents a real risk to all residents, but especially those who are older,” Mickey Foster, CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas, said in a statement. “And with cases continuing to rise, accelerating our efforts to deliver vaccines is essential.”

Running a clinic two days a week at a large venue like the Fair Barn doesn’t sound much like “accelerating.” But it’s better than where we were last week at this time.

Don’t Fail to Finish

We know the hospital — and the Health Department — have been working hard. We know they’re trying to focus on testing, tracing, treatment, public education, paperwork. It’s a lot, and the people doing the work are pushing hard.

But we’re behind. Moore County has a lot of seniors — more than 20,000 — and many of them have put their lives on hold the past year and are eager to get vaccinated.

Given what they — and all of us — have endured this past year, nothing deserves greater urgency — at whatever cost. We must have aggressive vaccination plans that can deliver shots just as fast as we get doses in.

The Health Department has said many times it is understaffed, yet it has made no public effort or request for more help. Surely the commissioners, sitting on tens of millions of dollars in reserve accounts, wouldn’t want to hold back now, if it means hiring staff to distribute vaccines or answer phones, schedule appointments and handle paperwork.

It’s great that the governor has activated the National Guard to help with vaccination, but that alone isn’t an answer.

We’ve come too far in such a short time to slow down now. The Health Department didn’t start strong in this pandemic, but it can finish well if it just, well, finishes.

(6) comments

Sally Larson

I am just so grateful the shots have begun.

Elgett Floyd

Our world would be a better, kinder place if some people had to walk a mile or two in another man's moccasins. So many are suffering, yet we still have these cold hearted, non empathetic, elitist attitudes. If you have been given much, realize that much is required of you. There is a reckoning day coming. It is called judgment day!

Paul Hallet

Starting 1/12 those 75 and older who would wait for Firsthealth or Pinehurst Medical to schedule them can ALSO sign up for vaccine through the Health Dept. A letter from the Moore County Health Dept. appeared on their website yesterday. My wife and I called (quick answer) the Health Dept. earlier yesterday to schedule our vaccine. We did this when our Primary Care (a non affiliated clinc) said on their website to go to Carthage. The count on Health Dept. website went from over 1500 to over 2300 yesterday. Looks like those 75 and older affiliated with FirstHealth now have two options while others only have one. Is this fair?

“ at a time when COVID-positive cases and hospitalizations are setting daily records” Wait, what? Weren’t Shutdown Cooper’s unconstitutional edicts on wearing useless masks and arbitrary social distancing supposed to stop the CCP flu dead on its tracks, months ago? I’m so confused. Maybe if people wore two or three masks at the same time and kept 12 feet apart instead of 6, things would improve. Just a thought.

Roger Davis

Have you ever noticed when somebody posts a common sense comment to an editorial there is always somebody posting ridiculous nonsense replies? I have!

clarkson groseth

As noted earlier, it seems as if certain folks are off their meds again.

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