As sites move from Covid-19 testing to vaccinations, health officials warn balance is needed



Still, many health officials warn that a balance is needed to ensure continued Covid-19 testing efforts even as the country pushes for more coronavirus vaccinations

“Converting some of these large-scale sites from testing to vaccination, at least for now, makes sense – just because we need to start scaling up vaccination, but I think there is a balance,” said Plescia.

“We can’t just switch everything to vaccinations,” he said. “We must continue to have the resources to allow people to get tested.”

Ballparks are turning into massive vaccination sites

In Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium will transition to a Covid-19 vaccination site by the end of the week and stopped offering the Covid-19 test as of Monday, according to a statement from the mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti.

The announcement noted that the resource transfer will “temporarily reduce testing capacity” in LA County, but “will more than triple the number of daily vaccines” available to residents.

“From the start of this pandemic, Dodger Stadium has been the home base of our testing infrastructure, a vital part of our efforts to track the spread of COVID-19, try to forestall epidemics and save lives,” Garcetti said on Monday. .

“Vaccines are the surest way to beat this virus and to lead a cure, so the city, county and our entire team are putting our best resources on the ground to get Angelenos vaccinated so quickly, safely and efficiently as possible. “

In New York City, a Covid-19 vaccine mega-site will be set up at Citi Field later this month, according to an announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The stadium was previously used for Covid-19 testing earlier in the pandemic.
“We chose this site in part because it was one of our test sites. It was a very popular testing site, ”said Dr. Ted Long, executive director of NYC Health + Hospitals Test and Trace Corps, which will operate the vaccination center. , said in a briefing Tuesday. “So we passed the tests there, we’re going to be successful with the vaccine there.”
Yankee Stadium is set to join the Mets & # 39;  Citi Field as a mega Covid-19 vaccination site
Major League Baseball teams reached out to county and city health officials this week to offer every MLB stadium across the country as a site for mass vaccination, Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the United Nations, told CNN Wednesday. National Association of County and City Health Officials.

“These stages are wonderful areas to reuse for larger mass vaccination efforts,” Freeman said, but added that testing was always a priority.

“We have so many places across the country that are still experiencing high levels of transmission and resurgence of the disease, that we cannot afford to drop testing just yet,” she said. “We are too early in the vaccination process to do this because we still have to mitigate and manage the spread of the disease, even during vaccination.

California & # 39;  s Disneyland Resort will host a & # 39;  super & # 39;  Covid-19 vaccination site
Stadiums aren’t the only facilities that are turning into vaccination sites or focusing on vaccine testing. For example, officials in Orange County, Calif., Announced Monday that Disneyland Resort in Anaheim will become a vaccination site and be operational later this week.
In Philadelphia, a non-profit organization called “Philly Fighting Covid” opened a mass vaccination clinic in Pennsylvania Convention Center last week. the group then announced on Sunday that he “canceled the tests until further notice to concentrate on the vaccination operations”.
Trump administration reverses course, adopts part of Biden vaccine distribution plan

More mass vaccination sites are likely to appear after the US Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that the federal government will help states set them up.

“If states wish to set up mass vaccination sites, we are ready to help,” said US surgeon general Dr Jerome Adams posted on Twitter Tuesday.

‘We are not going to vaccinate our way out’ of the current outbreak

After plunging in late December, testing in the United States rebounded to an all-time high it reached before the holidays. According to the Covid Tracking Project, the seven-day average of new tests has reached more than 1.9 million per day and has never been higher.

Vaccinations and Covid-19 testing “have yet to run concurrently” and are both “equally important” for now, Blaire Bryant, deputy legislative director for health at the National Association of Counties, told CNN on Wednesday.
Local health officials doubt federal pivot on Covid-19 vaccines will help in time

“Counties and local public health departments are going to find ways to continue to do testing and do large-scale testing,” said Bryant.

Reusing stadiums and other large sites for vaccines will be good for vaccine delivery, she said. “When it comes to testing, we know at the local public health level that this is still very important and that we wouldn’t do one to sacrifice the other.

Tests and vaccinations serve different purposes.

From a public health perspective, “screening is necessary in the short term to be able to react quickly when cases increase and prevent or stop outbreaks while vaccinations are a prophylactic solution to prevent cases and end the pandemic” , said Dr Sadiya Khan. , assistant professor of preventive medicine in epidemiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“In an ideal world, we would have enough resources to optimize vaccine deployment and to continue testing at the necessary volumes,” she said. “I think there will always be a bit of give and take.”

Plescia, of the Association of State and Territory Health Officials, agrees immunization is the way out of the pandemic – but it’s not the way out of the record number of cases and deaths that the country is currently experiencing.

“This problem that we find ourselves in right now with rapidly increasing infection rates, with hospitals filling more and more people dying, we are not going to vaccinate to get out of it,” Plescia said.

“What we are doing now with vaccination is not really going to materialize for several months. So to control what’s going on now, we need to keep doing the testing, isolating and quarantining people, wearing masks, and servicing people. social distance. “




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