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U.S. should vaccinate like England | READER COMMENTARY

Jade Quinn, pharmacist, draws a dosage of vaccine as visiting pharmacists at Maryland Baptist Aged Home administer the first round of novel-coronavirus vaccines released by Pfizer.
Jade Quinn, pharmacist, draws a dosage of vaccine as visiting pharmacists at Maryland Baptist Aged Home administer the first round of novel-coronavirus vaccines released by Pfizer. (John Moore // Getty Images)

The other day I received an email from an English friend. It said simply, “I’m all right, Jack.” Attached was the government certificate showing he had now received both his COVID-19 shots. Like me, he is an octogenarian. In England, those over 80 years old were in the government’s top category for receiving the vaccine, alongside first-responders and nursing home residents and staff. Looking at the numbers in Maryland, printed in The Sun on Jan. 5, one can see the sense of that. As of Friday morning, 24% of infected Maryland octogenarians had died of the virus, against 8.9% of septuagenarians, 2.6% of infected African Americans, 1.2% of infected Hispanics, and 2% of the overall infected population. If the aim of the vaccination program is to reduce death alongside infection, clearly inoculating all octogenarians ASAP should be an obvious priority.

Gilbert Lewthwaite, Columbia

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