Panel discusses allocation and distribution as U.S. struggles to get vaccines into the arms of nation
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 25, 2021 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) and Annals of Internal Medicine hosted a third virtual COVID-19 vaccine forum on Jan. 22, with the focus on the allocation and distribution of available vaccines, as the nation faces challenges in trying to get millions of Americans vaccinated. Four invited experts offered their perspectives on vaccine allocation and distribution. Panelists included:
- Capt. Amanda Cohn, Chief Medical Officer of the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) and Executive Secretary of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices;
- David Fairchild, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, CVS MinuteClinic, Professor of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School;
- Mark Levine, MD, Commissioner of Health, Vermont;
- Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP, President, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and President Emeritus, American College of Physicians.
Dr. Jason M. Goldman, a member of ACP’s Board of Regents and a practicing internist in Florida, moderated the discussion and posed questions from attendees to the participants. The full recording is available for replay here and is published in Annals of Internal Medicine along with commentary by Christine Laine, MD, MPH, ACP senior vice president and editor-in-chief, Annals of Internal Medicine.
During the forum, the panelists discussed the challenges associated with vaccinating enough people to achieve community-level immunity as quickly as possible. These include matching supply and demand at the local level, confusing and inconsistent prioritization criteria, misinformation about vaccine safety and effectiveness, logistical challenges that limit the types of settings with the capacity to efficiently administer vaccinations, and vaccine registries that lack interoperability. Additionally, improvements to the public health system and addressing health inequities are vital, not only to address the current pandemic, but to address ongoing health issues and the next pandemics to come. The panelists emphasized that simplicity, transparency, collaboration, accessibility, and fairness are fundamental to the vaccination program’s ultimate success.
“Distribution and allocation of COVID-19 vaccine is a complex enterprise launched during stressful times within pandemic-weary health care and public health systems,” said Dr. Laine. “There have been stumbles along the way, but we must learn from them, which is why these forums are such an important opportunity.”
While many questions remain and challenges stand in the way of efficient allocation and distribution of vaccines, the forum provided sound, baseline information and highlighted the latest information related to getting Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s a great achievement that we have vaccines for COVID-19,” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP, “Now we must help internal medicine physicians and other frontline health providers navigate the hurdles in front of us so we can vaccinate more people and finally end this pandemic.”
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Annals of Internal Medicine
Annals of Internal Medicine is the flagship journal of the American College of Physicians (ACP). Annals is the most widely read and cited general internal medicine journal and one of the most influential peer-reviewed clinical journals in the world. Annals’ mission is to promote excellence in medicine, enable physicians and other health care professionals to be well-informed members of the medical community and society, advance standards in the conduct and reporting of medical research, and contribute to improving the health of people worldwide. New content is published every Tuesday at Annals.org. Follow Annals on Twitter and Instagram @AnnalsofIM and on Facebook.