COMMENTARY: We are privileged in the US to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine

May 11, 2021 /

News about India’s current COVID-19 surge and emergency need for medical supply should serve as a reminder to how privileged our own community is to have vaccines readily available.

The herd immunity threshold is a point of collective immunity where the disease is no longer likely to spread. Experts have estimated that roughly 70 percent to 85 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity for COVID-19.

Data from California All shows only 44.7 percent are fully vaccinated in Kern County (Last updated May 8, 2021 at 9:30 AM).

This number shows progress, but it is concerning when you realize many Americans, including Kern County residents, are still refusing to be vaccinated. We are still far from normality and should realize how advantageous we are in having these doses accessible.

“India has now reported more than 20 million coronavirus infections, including nearly 3.5 million people who are actively being treated for COVID-19. The country’s health system is in a state of collapse as hospitals and clinics face dire shortages of beds and lifesaving supplies,” NPR

Their healthcare is overwhelmed and they do not have enough vaccine resources for their adult population and many clinics have shut due to low supply.

Meanwhile in Kern County, we have more than 100 Covid-19 Vaccination sites. Their locations and information is all provided online at:

Additionally, vaccination events are hosted weekly in different cities. Some are offered by appointment and others are walk-ins. There are also 3 vaccines available (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson Johnson vaccines), so residents have a choice in which vaccine they feel most comfortable taking.

Regardless of someone’s decision to be vaccinated, they have to recognize
how blessed they are in having the opportunity, let alone all these options to choose from.

In an interview with NBC News, Dr. Frank Rhame explained life in India.

“You’re on top of people just all the time. Six foot distancing, that doesn’t happen. You can’t walk a block without having 100 or 200 people who have been within six feet of you.”

The fact we have the ability to safely quarantine and social distance, to follow basic CDC guidelines, is yet another privilege I have noticed.
The World Health organization said COVAX, the global alliance to ensure equitable access to Covid vaccines, urgently needs 20 million doses to cover interruptions in supply triggered by increase of demand due to the sudden surge. India has allowed the import of foreign-made vaccines such those administered in the United States, but none of these vaccine makers have
applied for an emergency use licence in India.

Another lesson to be learned, is how the surge occurred. The government quickly shifted from strict lockdown to reopening. Gradual reopening is key to a successful transition along with following updated health guidelines once you are fully vaccinated.

“When choosing safer activities, consider how COVID-19 is spreading in your community, the number of people participating in the activity, and the location of the activity,” states the CDC regarding new activities fully vaccinated individuals can now do.

Kern County residents should not quickly return to old routines or habits; we still need to be hyper vigilant and safe. There are many who remain susceptible to Covid-19 and other countries who are still struggling. In order to do our part in helping stop the spread of the virus, we should all get vaccinated and encourage others to do the same.

Personally, I was at first a bit wary of being vaccinated. I was primarily concerned with the fact they were not yet FDA approved. Emergency-use authorization scared me; like most people I worried if it was safe. After my own research and discussions with others, it eased my mind.

Gaining knowledge and sharing it with others is important because we are still working towards debunking myths and ending the pandemic. In order to reach this finish line it must be done collectively and collaboratively as a community!