This week, Massachusetts launched a first-in-the-nation experiment, providing vaccinations to youthful individuals who accompany people who find themselves 75 and older to mass vaccination websites.
The plan was supposed to ease entry issues for older individuals, who’ve struggled to e-book on-line appointments and journey to sports activities stadiums. Instantly, it met with criticism from state legislators and a few public well being specialists, who mentioned it may lead to scarce doses going to younger, wholesome individuals.
It additionally gave rise to an uncommon on-line market, as entrepreneurial Massachusetts residents sought to forge caregiving relationships at high velocity.
“I’ve a terrific driving file and a really clear Toyota Camry,” mentioned one individual in an commercial on Craigslist. “I pays $100 money as effectively. I’m a pleasant conversationalist and can can help you select the music and present me all the photographs of your grandkids!”
Different inquiries had been made extra delicately.
At a Thursday information convention, Gov. Charlie Baker acknowledged that some had been approaching this system opportunistically, and warned seniors to be cautious about provides of assist from strangers.
“It’s best to solely attain out to any person that or belief to convey you as your companion, whether or not that’s a baby, a companion, a partner, a neighbor or a caregiver,” he mentioned. “Don’t take calls or provides from individuals you don’t know effectively or belief, and by no means share your private data with anybody.”
Public well being specialists provided divergent opinions on the companion program, an idea that was not broadly mentioned earlier than it was rolled out.
Andrew Lover, an assistant professor of epidemiology on the College of Massachusetts Amherst, mentioned the plan would speed up vaccinations by offering an “additional push” for older individuals who stay alone.
“There’s positively potential for individuals to recreation the system, however my assumption is it’s a fairly small quantity,” he mentioned. “The extra individuals we will get vaccinated the higher, within the grand scheme of public well being, and we’re very happy to simply accept that small problematic fraction.”
Others fearful that the coverage permits younger, wholesome individuals doses which might be briefly provide.