Letters: Readers respond to vaccines and health care

The Detroit News
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Vaccine rations a foretaste of socialized medicine?

One of the fears of those who have fought so long and hard against socialized medicine is that access to medical services will be rationed or prioritized and favored groups or classes will get more, better and faster services than others.

Discussions along this line took place when Obamacare was being debated with supporters denying that such a thing could ever take place or that rationing would occur, resulting in certain groups being denied treatment: “I’m sorry, Mr. Lengemann, but you are over 80 years old and have more than used your fair share of government benefits. You are not eligible for prostate cancer treatment. Go home, take two aspirin tablets and have a good life.”

Many tout the wisdom of providing the vaccine first to doctors, nurses and others on the frontline of fighting the virus. It is hard to argue with that, but it is a step in saying these persons are more important than the 80-year-old retired schoolteacher or the 70-year-old working pharmacist. It is a step toward acclimatizing the public to accept a most favored status for certain groups and individuals in receiving medical benefits.

I am waiting to see if congressmen, senators, governors and others of the “ruling class” can get the vaccine sooner than the public. I may be cynical, but my guess is like “essential businesses” they will deem themselves “essential leaders,” entitled to a high priority to receive inoculation.

Politicians and their fellow travelers should stand in line like everyone else. If they do not, we will have a foreshadowing of how universal health care will function.

John Lengemann, Imlay City

Many tout the wisdom of providing the vaccine first to doctors, nurses, and others on the frontline of fighting the virus, Lengemann writes.

Pharmacists can boost childhood immunization

As we look hopefully to administering vaccines for the coronavirus next year, we are reminded that routine immunizations, in general, have declined. We need a concerted effort to inform and build trust in our communities so we can bolster our immunity to potentially deadly diseases. Pharmacists are critical allies in making this happen.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has implemented new rules that provides state-licensed pharmacists with greater scope of service in immunizing children. This is a promising development.

Authority Health has added community pharmacy as a component of our primary care initiatives in Detroit. Under the leadership of Maria Young, a pharmacist who has worked in the community for several years, we are not only offering immunizations in neighborhoods, we’re helping people understand why immunizations are important and that they can trust health care professionals with the vaccines.

Young, our faculty physicians and our medical residents are working with schools and human service organizations to provide immunizations where people are.

Innovative thinking and neighborhood-based initiatives by community-oriented health practitioners is required to create healthy communities. Pharmacists serve an important role in this process.

Loretta V. Bush, president and CEO, Authority Health 

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