Part III-Recommendations, Policy Solutions, and Advocacy- 7-8 pages on its own without reference/work cited page

Covid-19: Vaccinate the Young to Protect the Old?

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Covid-19: Vaccinate the Young to Protect the Old?

The Problem

The coming of the covid-19 vaccines is a long-awaited unveiling. However, it presents a big problem to the government and society at large. The problem is who is to be vaccinated before who. This is because, at the onset of the coming of the vaccine, it is evident that it will be limited. According to Giubilini et al. (2020), the best way to protect the people is to find a better way to ensure that the vaccines protect the most population instead of trying to vaccinate everyone. With the coming of the vaccines, many expected that the government would prioritize the elderly and the immunocompromised population after the healthcare workers.

However, after the healthcare workers, the government resorted to vaccinating the children before the elderly. This created confusion among the population. Many expected that the elderly were more threatened by the virus than the children. The problem is brought by the limitation of the vaccines, the ethical uprightness of vaccinating the children, and the best method to protect the population. Giubilini and his colleagues suggest that this will also depend on the implication of the vaccine on different groups of people. With more vaccines being produced, the problem is being solved better since as many children are getting vaccinated, more vaccines are availed to the other parts of the population, solving the ethical concerns resulting from the limitation of the vaccines in the beginning.

Morbidity and Mortality Rates

There has been a high public and economic death toll of covid-19, which has caused many people to succumb to the virus and has led to increased public investment to curb the virus through investment in beds, vaccines, and healthcare staff. The morbidity and the mortality of the covid-19 hit the USA hard between late 2020 and early 2021. Giubilini and his colleagues compared the morbidity and mortality of the covid-19 to that of the Flu since the threat of Flu to the elderly is similar to that of Covid-19. They indicate that seasonal Flu has a yearly mortality rate of about 650,000 people globally, and the majority of this population is above 65 years of age. A study conducted in France in 2020 found out that about 90,000 patients from covid-19 and nearly 46,000 from the seasonal Flu were hospitalized between March to April 2020 (Piroth et al., 2021). This indicates that the morbidity rate of the virus is higher than the Flu virus.

In the US, the morbidity rate of Covid-19 has been varying in different states. The different variants have come up, and the country has been topping the list most of the time. The morbidity rate in the US currently stands at 3 million individuals, and the mortality rate was at 1,291,100. The mortality rate was at 77,489 by august 2020 (Matta et al., 2020). Similar to the Flu, the more affected age is the age group above 65 years. As much as the government considers vaccinating more children, the number of the elderly who get more affected by the virus seems to maintain.

However, the dedication of the government to vaccinate the children prevent more elderly from getting infected. The theoretical assumption that the covid-19 will not have severe effects on the children like the elders is working, especially when the child does not have any underlying immune deficiency conditions. Despite the spread of the virus in children being high, the older generation will be protected with high numbers of vaccination. Additionally, research has shown that children have fewer morbidity and mobility numbers (WHO, 2020).

Public Health Relevance

The public health relevance to the issues is that the government must find methods that would be efficient to prioritize the vaccine to the children and protect the elderly and manage the limitation of the vaccines. The public health sector will seek to survey the population and analyze the effects of the virus on the general population to protect its central part and its efficacy. In addition, surveillance of the impact and effectiveness of the vaccine on children should be taken to help evaluate how best the elderly can be protected.

At the same time, public health should countercheck the effect vaccinating children has on the effect of covid-19 on the elderly. Suppose the public health findings suggest that the virus effect on the elderly could not be changed by focusing on the children. In that case, other methods can be taken into consideration. Sometimes the number of Covid-19 deaths may not be related to the number of children vaccinated. Moreover, this research would assist public health in controlling and allocating the vaccines accordingly to the related groups (Giubilini et al., 2020). Public health is also responsible for providing the healthcare system utilities such as beds and healthcare workers allocation to different facilities.

Parties Affected by the Problem

When the covid-19 came, there was a shortage of healthcare personnel and protective gear to counter the virus. The healthcare systems of many countries were paralyzed, and every country was looking for a better way to navigate through the pandemic. This made any country eagerly wait for the virus to get them off the woods. Therefore, when the vaccine came, the country rushed to protect the healthcare workers as they were the frontline (Giubilini et al., 2020).

However, the limited volume of the vaccine poses a problem to the government’s dreams. With the need to protect the entire population, the country is faced with the problem of finding the best method to utilize the limited number of vaccines. The government is also faced with the problem of providing the necessary healthcare utilities to help care for the hospitalized population. However, the question of the effectiveness of the vaccines on children presents a problem to the elderly population. According to Giubilini et al. (2020), if the disease is more contagious and the vaccine proves less effective, it poses a threat to the elderly. These problems, therefore, encompass almost every sector from government, economy to social welfare, that is, the elderly group.

Risk Factors of Prioritizing the Children

Apart from the ethical concerns, there are also other risks associated with this strategy. For instance, as Giubilini et al. (2020) suggest, no vaccine is 100% effective and 100% safe. Therefore, using the children will be subjected to trial versions of the vaccines; hence, the safety and associated risks are raised. These kinds of tests will be exposed to some health risks. This risk level can be high in this covid-19 situation due to the urgency and the fact that no other vaccine has ever been developed. Ethically the children will not be legally able to consent to this. Furthermore, as the focus is still on the children, the effect of the virus is still not taken care of, therefore risking the spread of the virus on a different trajectory.

Factors Contributing to Risks

One factor that contributes to the risks is the urgency of the requirement of the virus. This can lead to an increased chance of errors in the development of the vaccine and hence increasing the risks factors. Furthermore, the issue of vaccination, especially the strategy to ensure the reach of the vaccine, has been much politicized. Some policymakers are finding it hard to support this strategy at the expense of their political influence. They may prefer rejecting the strategy to bring a high cost to the public health and the economy later, just for the sake of the political stance (Paul et al., 2021). Another concern is the adverse side effects of the vaccine belief by many in the population.

Relevance to the Reader

This issue is essential to help the reader discern the importance of having the vaccine and strategy taken by the government. The reader should understand that as many ethical issues may cloud the strategy, and it clears a path that will release the pressure on the healthcare system in the long run. Furthermore, since the children are less affected by the virus and, in most cases, present asymptomatic versions, they pose a danger to the elderly population as they can be super spreaders.

The Economic Cost

The economic cost of the problem is that as the government focuses on vaccinating the children, the equitability of the vaccination is reduced. This will lead to the more productive population being affected, paralyzing the healthcare system and reducing the economic output due to reduced workforce and policy drivers. Due to the vaccine’s insufficient availability, this strategy may be more effective as two groups of people are protected by the available vaccine. But the economic significance is reduced. The country’s GDP for the Covid-19 years has also dipped as compared to the other years. Some productive sections of the economy have been forced to change their methods of operations, such as working from home, which has led to reduced productivity levels.

References

Giubilini, A., Savulescu, J., & Wilkinson, D. (2020). COVID-19 vaccine: vaccinate the young to protect the old?. Journal of Law and the Biosciences7(1), lsaa050.

Matta, S., Chopra, K., & Arora, V. (2020). Morbidity and mortality trends of Covid 19 in top 10 countries. Indian Journal of Tuberculosis67(4), S167-S172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijtb.2020.09.031

Paul, K. T., Eberl, J., & Partheymüller, J. (2021). Policy-relevant attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination: Associations with demography, health risk, and social and political factors. Frontiers in Public Health9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.671896

Piroth, L., Cottenet, J., Mariet, A., Bonniaud, P., Blot, M., Tubert-Bitter, P., & Quantin, C. (2021). Comparison of the characteristics, morbidity, and mortality of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza: A nationwide, population-based retrospective cohort study. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine9(3), 251-259. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2213-2600(20)30527-0

WHO. (2020, September 18). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Schools. WHO | World Health

Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-schools

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