Algorithm puts just seven residents on Stanford Medicine’s initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution list

An algorithm figuring out which Stanford Medicine staff would obtain its 5,000 initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine included just seven medical residents / fellows on the list, in line with a December seventeenth letter despatched from Stanford Medicine’s chief resident council. Stanford Medicine management has since apologized and promised to re-evaluate the plan.

“We take complete responsibility for the errors in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan,” a Stanford Medicine spokesperson stated in an announcement to The Verge. “Our intent was to develop an ethical and equitable process for distribution of the vaccine. We apologize to our entire community, including our residents, fellows, and other frontline care providers, who have performed heroically during our pandemic response. We are immediately revising our plan to better sequence the distribution of the vaccine.”

The initial plan led to demonstrations from medical employees along with the letter despatched by the chief resident council.

“Stanford’s decision to de-prioritize residents and fellows is defenseless on the basis of science, reason, ethics, and equality,” the letter stated. (ProPublica has hosted the complete letter on DocumentCloud.) “Many of us know senior faculty who have worked from home since the pandemic began in March 2020, with no in-person patient responsibilities, who were selected for vaccination. In the meantime, we residents and fellows strap on N95 masks for the tenth month of this pandemic without a transparent and clear plan for our protection in place.”

The residents’ letter additionally alleges that the error within the algorithm was discovered on Tuesday however that management opted to not make adjustments to the plan forward of its December seventeenth launch.

Here’s how the algorithm reportedly labored, in line with NPR:

According to an e-mail despatched by a chief resident to different residents, Stanford’s leaders defined that an algorithm was used to assign its first allotment of the vaccine. The algorithm was stated to have prioritized these well being care employees at highest danger for COVID infections, together with elements like age and the placement or unit the place they work within the hospital. Residents apparently didn’t have an assigned location, and together with their sometimes younger age, they had been dropped low on the precedence list.

Stanford Medicine administration additionally despatched an e-mail to employees on December 18th apologizing for the initial plan and promising adjustments. “We are working quickly to address the flaws in our plan and develop a revised version,” the e-mail stated, which was obtained by ProPublica well being care reporter Caroline Chen. “We are optimistic that a large shipment of vaccines will arrive next week, which will allow us to vaccinate a substantial segment of our community.”

The Food and Drug Administration has licensed two COVID-19 vaccines to be used within the US. The vaccine developed by Pfizer / BioNTech was licensed on December eleventh, and the one developed by Moderna was licensed on December 18th.

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