Coronavirus vaccines have been highly accessible and effective. Between December 2020 and November 2022 in the United States, researchers estimated they had saved 3.2 million lives, prevented 18.5 million hospitalizations, stopped 120 million covid infections and saved $1.15 trillion in medical costs.
Public health officials moved heaven and earth to get shots in arms. But they were also forced to fight rampant political intrusion as they battled a terrible virus. When partisan politics is permitted to undermine sound public health guidance, individuals will start to base personal health decisions on their political persuasions.
There’s a better way. Preventing illness and disease gives everyone the best opportunity to live their healthiest life, but for every health-care dollar spent in this country, only about a nickel goes to prevention. Public health needs far greater federal investments to modernize data systems and build its workforce.
Only then can we truly protect and promote the health of the public.
Chrissie Juliano, Takoma Park
The writer is executive director of the Big Cities Health Coalition.