Published in AI

AI stuffs up coronavirus vaccine allocation

by on22 December 2020

Did not think that front line medical staff  need it

An algorithm determining which Stanford Medicine employees would receive its 5,000 initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine included just seven medical residents/fellows on the list, according to a 17 December letter sent from Stanford Medicine's chief resident council.

Stanford Medicine leadership has since apologised and promised to re-evaluate the plan which did not think that frontline medical staff needed the vaccine as urgently as others.

Stanford Medicine spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. ""We take complete responsibility for the errors in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan. Our intent was to develop an ethical and equitable process for distribution of the vaccine. We apologise to our entire community, including our residents, fellows, and other frontline care providers, who have performed heroically during our pandemic response. We are immediately revising our plan to better sequence the distribution of the vaccine."

The residents' letter also alleges that the error in the algorithm was found on Tuesday but that leadership opted not to make changes to the plan ahead of its 17 December release.

The initial plan led to demonstrations from medical staff in addition to the letter sent by the chief resident council.

"According to an email sent by a chief resident to other residents, Stanford's leaders explained that an algorithm was used to assign its first allotment of the vaccine. The algorithm was said to have prioritised those health care workers at highest risk for COVID infections, along with factors like age and the location or unit where they work in the hospital. Residents apparently did not have an assigned location, and along with their typically young age, they were dropped low on the priority list."

Last modified on 22 December 2020
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