This week, Massachusetts launched a first-in-the-nation experiment, providing vaccinations to youthful individuals who accompany people who find themselves 75 and older to mass vaccination websites.
The plan was meant to ease entry issues for older individuals, who’ve struggled to e-book on-line appointments and journey to sports activities stadiums. Straight away, it met with criticism from state legislators and a few public well being consultants, who stated it might end in scarce doses going to younger, wholesome individuals.
It additionally gave rise to an uncommon on-line market, as entrepreneurial Massachusetts residents sought to forge caregiving relationships at high pace.
“I’ve an awesome driving document and a really clear Toyota Camry,” stated one particular person in an commercial on Craigslist. “I pays $100 money as properly. I’m a pleasant conversationalist and can permit you to select the music and present me all the photographs of your grandkids!”
Different inquiries had been made extra delicately.
At a Thursday information convention, Gov. Charlie Baker acknowledged that some had been approaching this system opportunistically, and warned seniors to be cautious about gives of assist from strangers.
“It’s best to solely attain out to any person that you already know or belief to convey you as your companion, whether or not that’s a toddler, a companion, a partner, a neighbor or a caregiver,” he stated. “Don’t take calls or gives from individuals you don’t know properly or belief, and by no means share your private data with anybody.”
Public well being consultants provided divergent opinions on the companion program, an idea that was not broadly mentioned earlier than it was rolled out.
Andrew Lover, an assistant professor of epidemiology on the College of Massachusetts Amherst, stated the plan would speed up vaccinations by offering an “additional push” for older individuals who dwell alone.
“There’s positively potential for individuals to recreation the system, however my assumption is it’s a fairly small quantity,” he stated. “The extra individuals we are able to get vaccinated the higher, within the grand scheme of public well being, and we’re very happy to just accept that small problematic fraction.”
Others apprehensive that the coverage permits younger, wholesome individuals doses which can be in brief provide.