Time to end the chaos. Just admit the method of delivery of the vaccines isn't working and is going to fail. Time to admit to the chaos and scrap the whole darned method of getting that vaccine into your arm.
Right now, we have a completely ridiculous set of protocols that make no sense at all except to the President of the United States, and I am not even sure it makes sense to him. It almost seems punitive in its designated 50 state set of calamities, punitive unless you are shareholders in McKesson (MCK) , the drug distributor and CVS Health (CVS) and Walgreen's (WBA) . I am so confident that this ridiculous process will continue to happen, though, that my charitable trust, which you can follow along at Action Alerts PLUS, has a sizable position in CVS, which I think will be the overall biggest winner, if there can be such a thing, because there are 10,000 of them and they are close to almost everybody in the U.S.
What should be done? What's a better plan? Pretty simple: we have to take both the private sector and the states out of the equation. We have to adopt the process that President Eisenhower demanded to wipe out Polio, and the one ultimately used to distribute the Sabin vaccine, a sugar cube in a cup, that those of us alive back then recall as a sweet treat given to us at our local high schools around the country.
In other words, we know how to do this: we distribute it nationally to all our high schools, ready made units for vaccination, and we use the U.S. military, which has a 130,000 medical staff that can be mobilized to do so.
We need the military more involved than it currently is, distributing the vaccine to points of distribution in 50 states each with different protocols. Right now it's like the military handing off to civilians to fight a global war. Anyone want to justify that, even if it means getting flamed on Twitter (TWTR) ?
The military also has to be in charge because it is still trusted as an apolitical organization in a time when Red States are in conflict with Blue States on how to fight the illness in every way, shape and form. You take the private sector out of it and you take the states out of it and you have what's called a federal effort, something that used to be acceptable and can be once again.
Without the military I believe that many people will not trust the sophisticated record-keeping and software that need to be executed in order to handle a two-shot administration of different, non-complementary vaccines, not to mention forthcoming ones, at least hopefully, from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and perhaps AstraZeneca (AZN) if it improves its efficacy rate. We have seen repeated attempts to do contact and trace of this illness be defeated by privacy concerns. I believe the military can be trusted with information that no private company can be trusted with.
Finally, with the tight supply of vaccines, the black market will be tempting and huge. Why not just eliminate it with an organization that has tight control over profiteering. The military learned to handle this right during General Grant's time. Some one hundred and sixty years later it's still pretty good at it.
There's no cure-all about this. We need the CDC to figure out the pecking order of who gets it because there isn't enough vaccines. But are we prepared if there suddenly will be? We can't have each state make these decisions. That's stupid.
We can, however, in a series of weekends, turn all high schools into points of distributions and every seven days handle the next tranche of people. That's my plan.
I am sticking by it.