Monday, March 08, 2021

Was Wolf "Absolutely Correct" To Give Teachers Vaccine Priority?

At last week's Northampton County Council meeting, Executive Lamont McClure stated that Governor Tom Wolf was "absolutely correct" to allow teachers to jump to the front of the Covid-19 vaccine line. They now have priority over Phase 1A citizens, who include medical personnel, citizens who are age 65+ and those who are at-risk.  I have no idea why McClure found it necessary to inject himself into this issue. It was a mistake, both on the science and for himself politically. He may have endeared himself to the teachers' union, but has alienated the largest voting block in municipal race - senior citizens. 

Let's look at the "science" behind letting school teachers and other school personnel jump the line ahead of Pennsylvanians 65 and older.

According to the US Census, there are an estimated 2,542,780 Pennsylvanians between the ages of 5 and 19 (my proxy for school-age children). Of that population, the state has reported a total of 8 COVID deaths (all but one of the deaths occurred in the 15-19 age group) as of March 5, 2021. So, for the 5-19 age group, the death rate is about 3 in a million.

Likewise, there are an estimated 6,579,649 Pennsylvanians in the 20-59 age group (my proxy for teachers and other school personnel). Of that population, the state has reported a total of 1,556 COVID deaths (of which, over 1,100 were in the 50-59 age group) as of March 5, 2021. So, for the 20-59 age group, the death rate is about 236 in a million.

Finally, there are an estimated 2,430,767 Pennsylvanians age 65 and older. Of that population, the state has reported a total of 21,400 COVID deaths as of March 5, 2021. So for the 65+ age group, the death rate is about 8,800 in a million.

So, if you are 65 or older, your COVID death rate is more than 37 times that of teachers and other school personnel. But, our governor tells us "his science" demands that elderly Pennsylvanians step aside so that school teachers can get vaccinated first.

Interestingly, there has been no agreement by teachers to go back to full-time, in-class teaching even after all their members have been vaccinated for COVID.

McClure has made sense and has been highly proactive when dealing with Covid-19 in Northampton County, which he likes to call "our little corner of the world." He should stick to what he does well and avoid playing both the blame game or attempting to support a politically unpopular governor over a decision that has alienated the largest voting block in McClure's own re-election.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

They are only giving them the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and it is only for grade school teachers first. very low number of people you are talking about and everybody wants the good vaccine not the 75% one

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sorry, but we have no choice on what vaccine we get. I would actually prefer the Johnson vaccine bc it is single dose.

Anonymous said...

This is from an unvaccinated senior over 65 who has a couple other co-morbidities:

9:32 raises a significant point: where are the numbers, including from Wolf's critics? For example, how many teachers (or other educators to be given priority) are there? How many seniors 65+ who are not yet fully vaccinated? Given the expected flow of vaccines, how long of a delay will prioritizing teachers cause the seniors?

And has the governor explained :his science"? Have you asked?

Anyone can just piss and moan all of the time. We need more light and less heat.

Anonymous said...

Wolf has always bowed to the school unions. His biggest backers. I hope he is next on the investigation list for the death rates among senior citizens at care facilities. Both him and Levine should be questioned.

In addition, Wolf has no problem admitting that he has crippled the State financially, all for the purpose of seeking freebie Govt greenbacks.

And lastly, since schools and unions were mentioned, PA pays top 10 wages to our educators, yet our schools rank 30th nationally. And Wolf wants to throw more money at education. Kind of like paying for a Ferrari but driving a Volkswagen.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have no problem seeing $ spent on education. I also have high regard fir teachers. I just don’t think the data suggests they be given priority

Anonymous said...

Bernie... doesn't the GOP accuse you of shilling for Lamont? This post does not fit the agenda. You naughty naughty blogger.

Anonymous said...

He must stick with what his campaign donors tell him too. Some of the teachers have gotten used to the year long vacation and refuse to give it up just yet.
Bernie, as sick as you look since losing so much weight you should be first in line to receive all three types of vacine!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie... doesn't the GOP accuse you of shilling for Lamont? This post does not fit the agenda. You naughty naughty blogger."

I believe McClure's response to the pandemic has been nothing short of exceptional. His criticism of the federal response and Cusick's criticism of the state response are both correct. But as Myers and several other Council members observed, we should stick with playing the cards we have.

Anonymous said...

Bernie! I am shocked that you haven't written about your favorite Allentownian, King Allentown, 's brother being arrested for stormin the captiol! He went by Juan Cena and was lead singer of the band they in! https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/news/2021/03/south-whitehall-man-admits-being-in-us-capitol-on-jan-6-court-papers-say.html

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad he's not offering teachers 750 bucks to get vaccinated.

Anonymous said...

anon 1200, Yeah real criticism..NOT! Bernie's criticism of McClure is usually, he is too humble, too loving, etc. In Bernie's world McClure and gang have manipulated him well.

Truth is both McClure and Cusick came off as partisan asses They used county council to have a political pissing match. The president of council should have gaveled them both out of order. She let McClure give constant political speeches. Enough already. Use your gavel already.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Neither McClure nor Cusick was in any way out of order.

Anonymous said...

@anon 2:46 pm the Executive always gives a thorough report with all the data an informed citizen should want. Cusick and McClure made there points. Free speech should rule the day and the council president while being able to be criticized for a lot is totally right to let them both speak.

Anonymous said...

Wolf generally has done an excellent job with COVID,. We're lucky he's in office rather than a clone of Trump.

Anonymous said...

No matter which group is put first in line, another will piss and moan they were slighted. Everybody screamed about virtual learning being a disaster and kids needing to get back to the classroom. If you want the kids educated in the classroom then teachers and staff go to the front of the line.
As someone previously pointed out they are being offered the J&J vaccine. Not the top shelf vaccines. It's a feel good measure that still puts 25% at risk working with the little virus incubators returning to the classroom.

Anonymous said...

There's a simple fact here to keep in mind...if the J&J vaccine was simply added to the current vaccines and given out at random, there would be a lot of people declining it. Right now, when you go for a COVID vaccine, you are given whatever they have - Moderna or Pfizer. People don't really care because both are perceived as being relatively equal (not totally true, but "perception is reality" for this type of thing). Imagine J&J, which is perceived as a lesser vaccine, being simply added to the rotation, and all the disruption that would come when a bunch of people declined the J&J vaccine onsite. There would be chaos.

Given the situation, they had to pick a "safer" subgroup who is not currently eligible for the vaccine to be the first to receive J&J. While the decision to pick teachers over other subgroups is debatable, the decision to handle the rollout this way is not. If you prefer to look at it negatively, you can make the argument that teachers should not have been chosen over first responders or another subgroup of front-line workers, but you CAN"T make a valid argument that teachers are taking vaccines from currently eligible groups.

I've agreed with very little that Gov. Wolf has done during the pandemic, but I actually agree with him on this one!

Anonymous said...

He knows the party line. Evidence his sense during Gracedale. You just like to pick and choose what nonsense you'll defend. Old people can die. Kids need saving. Got it. Close the parks again. That'll work.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, there are an estimated 2,430,767 Pennsylvanians age 65 and older."
pa vaccination total 2,981,190 or a higher number than the total of 65+ folks
https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx
The vast majority given to 60 and up.
Sounds like most seniors have been vaccinated or given the opportunity

Anonymous said...

I would have been back, full-time, and in person LAST spring if I had a choice. There is no logical reason for schools to still be in hybrid mode, especially considering the data showing the negative impact this style of learning is having on academics and mental health. A tiny part of me was hoping Trump would win because he would have reopened schools.

Anonymous said...

anon 3:54 tell your boss the county has become a full-time McClure political campaign machine. Employees sick of the authoritarian regime. His trough reports are self-aggrandizing speeches. Tine for the council to take back their meetings.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:09, I know quite a few 65 plus peopl, including myself, who have been waiting about two months.

Anonymous said...

Wolf shouldn't claim it's about the science in this case. It's about the triple impact that vaccinating teachers would result in. Not only do you make it safer for teachers to return (which is mostly perception, but perception is reality), but you allow students to return full time (good for them) and take the pressure off of parents to monitor their kids' on-line learning or find a way to be at home. One shot = multiple beneficiaries. It's a different equation but one that it equally compelling.

Anonymous said...

@7:55- speak for yourself. The large majority aren't complaining. Especially the NorCo tax payers who are happy with how our tax dollars are being spent (and no tax increase). Are you referring to the same employees who also didn't like John Brown? How quickly everyone forgets what it was like for those 4 years... increased health care; no raises; everyone complained about HR (who actually did good things with policy); an exec who had no real clue what went on in the County offices.

Anonymous said...

“Wolf generally has done an excellent job with COVID. We're lucky he's in office ....”

Two of the most stupefying sentences ever written on this blog.