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Dr. Jose Torradas is a bilingual, board-certified Emergency Physician who has worked his entire career on the front lines across the United States.  Courtesy
Dr. Jose Torradas is a bilingual, board-certified Emergency Physician who has worked his entire career on the front lines across the United States.  Courtesy

A beacon of hope

According to the latest City of Philadelphia figures, Hispanics make up almost 15% of the city’s population and yet only 3% of those vaccinated in the city are…

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On December 14, Americans began lining up for COVID-19 vaccinations.  Globally, the vaccine embodies a beacon of hope for the many millions who have suffered physically, emotionally, and or financially during this harrowing time. 

The federal government’s ambitious target of 20 million vaccinated by 2020 came up wildly short. Slowly we’re catching up, with more than 26 million doses administered but concerns about manufacturing and distribution delays abound. The Biden Administration has prioritized mass vaccination. 100 million doses in 100 days is the new target. To accomplish this, three important areas need to align. 

The first critical piece is vaccine manufacturing. Not just the vials of medicine, but also syringes, needles, and all of the extra material necessary to support making and then transporting vaccines across the country. 

The first critical piece is vaccine manufacturing. Not just the vials of medicine, but also syringes, needles, and all of the extra material necessary to support making and then transporting vaccines across the country. 

Once enough doses are available, we need creative mass vaccination strategies.  Large sites across the country that can inoculate hundreds of patients per hour are essential to quickly reach herd immunity.  These sites need to be open on weekends and outside of usual business hours. Schools, churches, and recreation centers are excellent options, due to their ubiquity in even the most underserved and densely populated communities. Mobile units, or “strike teams,” are also critical, because if you can’t get a grandparent down their own stairs, how can we expect them to go to a clinic and wait hours in line?   

And finally, while many wait their turn for the vaccine, our top priorities should be bias-free patient education, dispelling myths and misinformation, and engaging with communities that have been historically excluded from public health initiatives.  Increasing public awareness and taking time with hesitant communities are necessary for ensuring that all Philadelphians feel empowered in their decision to vaccinate themselves when it is finally their turn. 

Photo Credit: Dr. Torrada

*Dr. Jose Torradas is a bilingual, board-certified Emergency Physician who has worked his entire career on the front lines across the United States.  In working with patients across the entire gender, racial, and socioeconomic spectrum, he has a unique insight into healthcare.  His passion is to ensure that systematically excluded groups receive fair and affordable access to healthcare.  He has spent the last several months opening Covid testing clinics in underserved areas of Philadelphia. Dr. Torradas is a national spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians and the National Hispanic Medical Association.  He is also a health educator for non-medical audiences and appears regularly as a TV medical analyst in both English and Spanish.
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