Courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr

After what seems like an eternity of horrible mishandling of the COVID-19 vaccination process by former President Trump, Americans might be able to breathe a little easier. With President Biden’s promise to vaccinate 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of the summer, the U.S. finally has a strong chance of getting back to a sense of normalcy again. However, it should come as no surprise that there will be obstacles in the way, such as skeptics and strict guidelines pertaining to who is eligible to receive the vaccine. In order for this plan to be a success, the Biden administration must push forward and distribute vaccines to those who actually want them and do away with strict parameters in order to make them more accessible to a larger population. 

America has had the ability to do something as ambitious as vaccinating 300 million people by the end of the summer since vaccine rollout began; the country has just lacked the strong, organized leadership to do so. And although the country seems to be playing catch-up when it comes to strong initiative compared to other countries such as New Zealand, we all need to rally behind President Biden’s efforts. In order for this plan to work, there needs to be complete support for Biden and the validity of the vaccine. 

Unfortunately, one big challenge when it comes to the vaccine is a skeptical public. A lot of individuals are refusing the vaccine outright, namely healthcare workers. As a result, the Biden administration has their work cut out for them when it comes to regaining the trust of the public. However, this still should not be seen as a large deterrent to the cause. As a matter of fact, only a minimum of 50 percent of the American population needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity, and within the population, 60 percent of Americans want to be vaccinated. So, even without the anti-vaccine radicals, Biden’s goals should be more than achievable considering the number of people he is planning on vaccinating each day. 

In the past administration, too big of a platform was allotted to conspiracy theorists who slowed the process of getting America back on track. Biden, on the other hand, will actually let the science speak for itself. So, as long as they are firm with their plans and don’t spread misinformation, then it should not be necessary to concern themselves with people who refuse the vaccine. Instead, to regain trust from the public, the Biden administration should put their efforts towards highlighting the benefits of the vaccine in order to help with motivation and morale. More importantly, in order to ensure that the largest possible population receives the vaccine, there needs to be a mandate that all schools and workplaces require the vaccine of students and staff. Additionally, this could also be applied to things like travel to dismiss those who are not vaccinated in order to keep people safe and limit a potential outbreak. If put in place, these requirements, coupled with the focus on how safe the vaccine is, will bring enough motivation for a majority of the public to get vaccinated.

Equally important in this process will be the revising of parameters on who should be qualified to receive the vaccine. Since the first round of distributions, the vaccine itself has been made very inaccessible to a large number of individuals solely because many don’t qualify for it. Of course, when it comes to refocusing the strict guidelines on who should be vaccinated, the elderly must always come first. But this does not mean that the vaccine should be restricted only to them. Vaccines will end up expiring in freezers and going to waste if we keep turning those who actually want the vaccine away. For instance, many vaccines are ending up in the garbage due to strict guidelines and the fear of retribution by hospitals. 

For this reason, essential workers must be prioritized the same way the elderly have been. Furthermore, if a younger person wants the vaccine but an 80-year-old doesn’t, there should never be a reason to turn away someone who still wants to be vaccinated. Regardless of age, if someone is willing to be vaccinated, then the government has the responsibility to vaccinate that person for the safety of everyone. All in all, the federal and state governments need to revise these guidelines that hurt vaccine efforts and instead make it more inclusive to yield the largest possible benefit.

There finally seems to be some hope after all of the death and devastation caused by this pandemic. After almost a year, this bleak time in history may be coming to an end. However, this dream will never become a reality without strong support from the public and a firm plan from the current administration. In hindsight, there seem to be more solutions that outweigh the challenges. And if President Biden keeps pushing forward with trying to vaccinate the largest population possible, then there should be no reason why this plan would fail.

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