Daily Video

January 26, 2021

Classroom Resource: Logistical challenges remain for vaccinations

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Directions: Watch the short video clip, then read the summary below and the articles linked within the summary and then answer the discussion questions. To read a transcript of the video, click here

Summary: President Biden has set a goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days even as federal and state officials grapple with logistical challenges and the absence of a national inoculation plan.

  • Part of the challenge of vaccinating everyone is that there are still only enough doses of the vaccine for a small part of the population, though production is increasing. At the moment, government authorities can’t guarantee vaccine doses more than a week ahead of time and are often reluctant to over-promise vaccine availability.
  • Another problem is logistics: How to get vaccine doses from manufacturers to states and on to the people who are eligible (at the moment, most states are focused on vaccinating health care workers, the elderly and those most at risk). In many states, vaccine doses are available but delayed in getting to the people who are eligible to be vaccinated.
  • Journalist Caroline Chen suggests that it is unlikely that Biden would invoke the Defense Production Act to produce more vaccine. This is a law that allows presidents to order privately owned manufacturers to make a certain product during time of crisis. It is unlikely the DPA would result in more capacity for production, according to Chen.

Discussion:

Warm up questions: 

  1. What are some of the challenges to vaccinating more people?
  2. Who is eligible for vaccines in most states?
  3. Why is there a gap between the number of available vaccines and the number of people actually being vaccinated, according to Caroline Chen?
  4. When and where are decisions made about who is eligible for the vaccine?
  5. How will the Biden administration try to speed up distribution of the vaccine?

Focus questions:

  1. What do you think authorities should do to make sure the vaccine is distributed faster and that it’s distributed fairly (that is, in a way that doesn’t leave out some groups or eligible people).
  2. Biden has suggested the federal government may take a stronger roll in distributing the vaccine directly to those eligible through the national guard and other national measures. Do you think this is a good idea, or should distribution logistics be left to states? Why do you think so?

Media literacy: Do you know how to find out who is currently eligible for the vaccine in your community and how they sign up for it? Do research as a class to find out.

Teachers: We’ve set up this post to help walk students through the process of signing up elderly relatives or others who may have trouble with computer access. You can use this example to empower and encourage to help their own loved ones and community members sign up for the vaccine.

 

Additional resources: 

The internet is full of a lot of misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 and the COVID vaccine. How do you sort out what’s supported by science and what isn’t? It can be hard, but training helps.

    • Use this lesson to better understand the difference between misinformation and disinformation, and how you can assess the credibility of information online.
    • You can use this lesson to better hone skills of determining fact from fiction.

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