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After an arduous year of endless bad news surrounding the pandemic, the world now has a glimmer of hope. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced that they have developed a coronavirus vaccine that has shown a 90% effectiveness rate in clinical trials. Once this vaccine is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the vaccine will be available for people to start getting immunized. The next challenge, however, is distribution; Pfizer doesn’t really have a distribution plan for the vaccine as of yet. Though there will be no easy way to go about distributing the new vaccine, it would be wisest to allow the states to choose where vaccines go first rather than to allow the federal government to call the shots.

Pfizer has insinuated that it will, in fact, let state governments decide who will get the vaccine first. This is the best course of action because if it were up to the federal government, vaccines would likely be directed to hotbed areas like New York and the Midwest rather than methodically attacking the virus in every state at once. In contrast, governors know their states best and have been in charge of handling their respective states for the whole of the pandemic. As such, they know where the hotbeds in their own states are and can work to distribute the vaccines where they are most needed before moving out to the cities that are less COVID-heavy. The states having control of vaccine distribution will lead to a much more fine-tuned approach to how cases are tackled, and this approach would be both efficient and effective.

Unfortunately, this approach still isn’t quite as smooth as it could be. There is still a matter of what communities should be vaccinated first within these states. When looking at a map of California’s COVID cases, it is clear that some of the most affected counties are those with high populations of low-income communities, such as San Bernardino, Tulare and Fresno counties. It makes the most sense, then, to send vaccinations into these counties first, as the people who live in those counties may not have the same access to medical care as those in counties with fewer cases might. By protecting these lower-income communities first and foremost, hotspots will be conquered before the vaccines are then distributed to counties that are less at risk.

However, even this slightly more streamlined approach would have its dissenters. With 23% of Americans saying that they wouldn’t trust any COVID vaccine coming out this year, state governments could face some pressure when distributing these vaccines. Nevertheless, if the vaccine is reliable — and it has shown to be so — then any potential pushback from the public should not stop state governments from acting on a COVID vaccine plan. If anything, a “mandatory” vaccine label should not be placed on the vaccine in the case that such a label incites a public riot as to why the vaccine should not be taken. Instead, governors should actively promote the receiving of the vaccine.

If this course of action were followed, then hopefully the course of the pandemic will be changed. If we vaccinate the most vulnerable first and foremost, then they will be safer, and cases should decrease. By not labeling the vaccine as mandatory, conspiracy theorists shouldn’t get too much in the way of the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. If a to-the-point distribution plan is followed through with, then we very well could start seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic. 

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