The vaccination hierarchy plan released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is already getting pushback.
President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger issued a press release shortly after the NCDHHS plan was revealed that is headlined “Young, Healthy College Students Shouldn’t Get Vaccine Before Older Adults.”
It also notes that the whole scheme is too complicated and doesn’t prioritize age enough. According to NCDHHS, 60 percent of the deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina have been in the over 75 age group, 23 percent in the 65 to 74 age group, 14 percent in the 50 to 64 age group, 4 percent in the 25 to 49 age group and 0 percent in the under 24 age groups. There have actually been 11 deaths in the under 24 age groups, but it is rounded to 0 percent.
The press release states, “A healthy 21-year-old college student will receive the vaccine before a 64-year-old, even though the 64-year-old faces about 100 times higher risk of death if infected.
“A healthy 24-year-old plant worker will receive the vaccine before a 73-year-old, even though the 73-year-old faces about 300 times higher risk of death if infected.”
It also notes that it will be nearly impossible to prevent a healthy young person from claiming to work in a grocery store to get a vaccine before older people at higher risk who wait their turn.
In the press release Berger said, “As it stands now, this system puts people in their 60s dead last. It does not strike me as fair or equitable to prioritize a 19-year-old over a 64-year-old just because that 19-year-old is in prison or in college. Simplicity and common sense will improve trust in public health officials; complexity will result in line-jumping and a further decline in confidence.”
According to the press release there are approximately 568,000 college students in North Carolina, roughly the same number as people between 50 and 64, but despite the much higher risk of those in the 50 to 64 age group the current plan puts college students ahead of the older adults in the vaccine line.