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politico – Defective vaccine rollout will create political stars – and has-beens

Democratic mayors like Jane Castor in Tampa and Dan Gelber in Miami Beach criticize the Trump approach – and said they have been laying the groundwork for months, training medical staff and setting up support sites. Castor said they even set up transportation for the elderly to get vaccinated, but supplies from Washington were inconsistent, making planning difficult.

“It seems responsive and random,” Gelber said. “No instructions were sent to us from above.” He recalled all the work that went into disaster planning when he was director of personnel for a US Senate investigative committee in the 1990s. “All of this should have been done months ago,” he says. he.

Meanwhile, the senator Rick scott (R-Fla.) Demanded a congressional inquiry into what he called “mismanagement of vaccine distribution,” following multiple reports that a West Palm nursing home and assisted living facility Beach have directed the much needed vaccines to its board members and major donors. He did not make this call in consultation with DeSantis, his successor. Both are possible contenders for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.

Immunization policy experts expect more political infighting – and more public anger if things don’t go well or seem fair.

“It’s remarkable how [pandemic] has become a partisan issue, ”said Michael Gusmano, who teaches public health at Rutgers University in New Jersey and is also a visiting scholar at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of the State University of New Jersey government. York. But contrary to some political views, “most of what they point out is true”.

“These are all the issues that we all read: basic infrastructure, coordination,” he said. Health workers are faced with a huge wave of post-vacation patients, extremely high demand for testing, and “really complicated vaccine delivery.”

People get confused when the rules are different from state – or sometimes even hospital system – to another, especially when you just don’t know why.

“All states have made health workers a priority. But they don’t define it the same way, ”said Jen Kates, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation which focused on the vaccination campaign.

And confusion arouses anger, a feeling of injustice.

“If people don’t understand, if they don’t see it as fair, they get angry on all levels. Among the governors. Health services. Health establishments. They will get used to everyone. Said Rekha Lakshmanan, director of advocacy and policy for the Texas Immunization Partnership and fellow of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

This is where the vaccine stars – politicians who can achieve Cuomo-like clarity combined with compassion – can thrive, Gusmano said.

“Cuomo got credit for having calm and clear communication” at the start of the pandemic, he said. “You can go a long way by not giving the impression that things are happening in a haphazard and arbitrary fashion.” Even if sometimes they are.

Carla Marinucci, Sam Sutton, Amanda Eisenberg, Shannon Young, and Arek Sarkissian contributed to this report.

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