Apparently, the computerized system they devised to determine who should get vaccinated first left out many of the people who are interacting with patients — and prioritized administrators who work from home. This could have happened anywhere, and almost certainly will again, but the fact that it’s at the university most associated with the rise of algorithmic-driven inequality is, as they say, not a good look.
Lenny Bernstein, Lateshia Beachum and Hannah Knowles writing at The Washington Post:
The “residents” — medical school graduates who staff the hospital for several years as they learn specialties such as emergency medicine, internal medicine and family medicine — were furious when it became clear that just seven of the more than 1,300 at the medical center were in the first round for vaccinations. Also affected were “fellows,” who work in the hospital as they train further in sub-specialties, nurses and other staff.
Residents across specialties had just been asked to volunteer for extra intensive care unit work in preparation for a surge in covid-19 patients.
An email to pediatrics residents and fellows obtained by The Washington Post said that “the Stanford vaccine algorithm failed to prioritize house staff,” as the early year doctors are known collectively.
This story really does have it all, when it comes to the abysmal state of American healthcare. First there’s the “failed algorithm” that was developed without consideration of the frontline workers in need of the vaccine most. These frontline workers, including resident physicians, aren’t considered full-time employees, so they fall into this gray zone of labor protection, despite being asked to volunteer to deal with hospitals being overwhelmed due to the ongoing failed government response.
The vaccine has only started becoming available and we’re already seeing how our failed healthcare system is completely unprepared. It’s going to get worse — the superrich are already figuring out how to game the system. This story has made headlines, eventually it will simply become normalized.