We Americans, collectively, were not ready for the coronavirus epidemic. We ought to be ready for the recovery.

It will begin when a vaccine against COVID-19 becomes available. Though a timeline for that is uncertain, it appears safe, effective vaccines will be available early next year. Understandably, it will take longer than that for the protection to be accessible by most people.

At first, vaccines will have to go to those most in need of them. The list includes health care workers, first responders — and nursing home residents.

Federal health officials have begun developing a plan to distribute vaccines to nursing homes as quickly and efficiently as possible, according to The Associated Press.

But, the AP noted, “Such a vaccine is not yet available, and that led to skepticism from some long-term care experts.”

There is no sense in that. Where is the need for skepticism in planning for WHATEVER vaccine is eventually developed?

Indeed, no one is certain yet what formulas will be used for COVID-19 vaccines. Once effective ones are developed, it will take time for the Food and Drug Administration to approve their production and distribution.

But at some point, that all will happen. Not having a distribution plan in place will delay getting protection to nursing home residents even more.

Federal officials reportedly are considering a plan whereby staff from the CVS and Walgreens drug store chains would deliver vaccines to nursing homes and administer them to residents. Whether that is the best method of handling the program may be a matter for discussion.

That is precisely the point, however. Now, not weeks from now, is the time to be hashing out disagreements over how to produce, distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines to Americans.

Had we listened to those who for years have warned we were unprepared for a major epidemic, lives could have been saved. Not might, but WOULD have been saved.

Let’s not make the same mistake regarding vaccines.

— The Marietta Times; Online: https://bit.ly/3khSz59