Forum, Jan. 11: Give us the option to help teachers, frontline workers

Published: 1/10/2021 10:00:33 PM
Modified: 1/10/2021 10:00:14 PM
Give us the option to help teachers, frontline workers

While we respect and are grateful for their leadership during this difficult time, we are deeply disappointed with the priority approach Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine have decided upon for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. We respectfully request that the system include the option for citizens to swap priority positions.

We are two 80-plus-year-old individuals who feel strongly that teachers, especially those educating younger students for whom in-class time is so important, and other frontline workers should have priority ahead of us. We know many our age who feel the same way.

Creating a means to make position trading possible, either generally or for targeted groups, should be possible. For us, it could be as simple as our showing up at a location administering the vaccine with two teachers and signing a consent form. In return, we could receive cards entitling us to get shots when the teachers’ priority numbers come up. We are assuming some sort of database as to who is getting the shot is going to be kept for research purposes. If not, we might simply have to rely on the honor system.

We understand we might be opening up a complex ethical discussion, but Vermont is up to it and we might all benefit from it, if that proved to be the case.

We hope, in recognition of what our teachers and other essential workers do day in and day out for our community, the state can make this option available.

GREGORY and TONI PRINCE

Norwich

Why such a slow vaccine rollout?

My mother is 98 and lives at home in Oxford, Miss. My brother is 65 and lives next door to her. She was scheduled for her COVID-19 vaccination last week and my brother is scheduled to get it this week. Mississippians in nursing homes, first responders and health care workers have been getting their shots over the past two weeks. Shots are being administered at drive-thru sites, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, and at clinics.

Mississippi is charging ahead with a real sense of urgency. Yet New Hampshire and Vermont are working off of “interim draft plans” that have vague timelines but seem to indicate that generally healthy people over 75 won’t be vaccinated until March. Why are we being so slow about this rollout? We are small states and should be moving much faster than this. What’s the problem?

JIM BULLION

Hanover

How about justice in our backyards?

I agree with Forum contributor Raymond Malley (“Republicans should create a new party,” Dec. 30). While the conservative faction of our political system should retain the “Republican” name, the turncoat branch should be a separate party — “Mutineers” seems to fit. Remember, it wasn’t the GOP that held up the coronavirus stimulus bill for nine months; it was the mutineers.

This ideological rift between true Republicans and the scoundrels enables the righteous side to oust white supremacists and other good-for-nothings (for example, the 126 Republicans — the “seditious amici” — who joined the Texas v. Pennsylvania lawsuit in an effort to scuttle the election). Also, with a depleted membership of Republicans and radical right, the left and center will be free to pass legislation helping to save the world.

Each of the 126 seditious amici represents a constituency, the majority of which we must assume to be like-minded. On the other hand, each person is unique enough that it’d take forever to mete out real justice to all. Instead, let’s think about human justice in our own backyard.

Recently, this newspaper reported on complaints by some about homeless people living in huts in Hartford (“It’s not much, but it’s home,” Dec. 20). Why deny shelter to the needy, especially at the onset of winter? Because some think of the indigent as second-class? Earlier, the Valley News reported on citizens complaining about a planned solar installation in White River Junction, which would affect their scenic view (“Route 14 solar project up for review,” Nov. 30). Consider what’s better for the common good — the whims of the NIMBY class or making a stand against Big Oil and dark money and taking a step toward clean energy.

When people have diverging opinions they should work it out or go their separate ways. Go halfway with me on this. Negotiate, or you’re part of the problem and need an attitude adjustment.

KEVIN McEVOY LEVERET

White River Junction

Greed created US mental health woes

The entire U.S. psychiatric care structure was essentially defunded by the politicians in the mid-1990s with the promise of more outpatient options.

We used to have plenty of unlocked inpatient mental health beds in local general hospitals and locked units for more serious challenges. We had three-day detoxes, seven-day detoxes and 30-day inpatient substance abuse programs. Skilled clinicians provided emergency room evaluation and placement, with family involvement. There were outpatient clinical services offered in many communities. But business people and doctors joined with politicians to sacrifice psychiatric care because it did not make enough money. It was a necessary public service, but ditching it meant more profit. Hence, we have homelessness and police and prisons dealing with our mental health issues.

In small states, there are too few remaining clinicians competent in mental health. They are poorly reimbursed and poorly regarded.

A lawsuit by California against Sutter Health, a Sacramento-based hospital chain, argued convincingly that skyrocketing health care costs are due to greed. We pay significant taxes. Our taxes could again go toward our common good. Let’s make it so. Health care for all — the federal public option — must become a public good again. As taxpayers, we own much of the infrastructure and the training, research and loan repayment programs. Don’t let them fool ya!

VICKI WARD

Barnard




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