Hospital workers upset over COVID-19 vaccine distribution

While COVID-19 vaccine rollout has gone smoothly at many healthcare organizations, physicians and nurses at hospitals in Arizona, California, New York and elsewhere say vaccine distribution at their facilities has been chaotic and unfair, according to NPR

Employees at Mass General Brigham in Boston signed up for vaccinations using an app. The app crashed after too many people tried to sign up at once, but issues were reported after the app was back up and running. 

Jennifer DeVincent, who has been a neonatal intensive care nurse at Mass General Brigham for 16 years, described the vaccine distribution process as a "free-for-all." Though the plan was for hospital workers at the highest risk to be vaccinated first, the system relied on an honor code that allowed employees to "self-police," according to emails obtained by NPR

Ms. DeVincent said she became angry when she realised some of the first employees to get the shots are in low-risk categories and don't do hands-on patient care. 

Paul Biddinger, MD, medical director for emergency preparedness at Mass General Brigham, said the honor code is necessary because it's "relatively complex to figure out who is working where" at an organization with a staff of more than 80,000. 

Dr. Biddinger said the data shows it's rare for a worker to jump the line, and Mass General Brigham is developing clearer guidelines for vaccine distribution.

In New York City, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital Chief Operating Officer Craig Albanese, MD, said he was "disappointed and saddened" after staff cut the line to get vaccinated, according to The New York Times

NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital was one of the facilities where staff told the Times they're upset with how COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed. The most exposed healthcare workers, including those working directly with COVID-19 patients, were supposed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine first. However, within 48 hours of the first doses arriving, some employees at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital received access to the vaccine despite being in low-risk categories, according to the Times. Some of the employees who received the vaccine worked from home during the pandemic.

In Arizona's Maricopa County, where the county government is responsible for distribution, the vaccine rollout was described by one physician as "a bit disorganized and ripe for exploitation," according to NPR. Though the county surveyed healthcare workers and tried to prioritize them for the vaccine, many are scrambling to find workarounds, according to the report. 

Read the full NPR article here

Read the full article from The New York Times here

More articles on workforce:
Staff at hospitals in DC, Texas turn down COVID-19 vaccine
New York hospital CEO disappointed after staff cut the line for COVID-19 vaccine
Employers can require COVID-19 vaccine, EEOC says






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