How to apply an agile mindset to the coronavirus vaccine

Release all doses or reserve half of them for the required second dose?

When it comes to multi-tasking, it has been mathematically proven that more productivity and efficacy results when people focus on getting one task done from start to finish rather than working on multiple tasks at the same time.

It is better to get one thing done than half a dozen things half done or not done. The risk is that too many things left “in progress” will lead to few or fewer things actually getting done.

Likewise, a common principle of the agile software development mindset is that people and organizations are going to be more successful, more productive, and get more stuff done when they limit their work in progress (WIP), i.e., enforce a WIP limit.

Limiting your WIP is scientifically and mathematically proven to be more successful in making progress, completing tasks, delivering return on investment (ROI) and getting things done.

COVID-19 vaccines require two shots to be most effective.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

So, when I heard that there is a policy recommendation to give out all of the available doses of the coronavirus to administer only 50% of the required dose rather than to reserve half the doses in order to administer the required second dose, I had to write this blog post.

Time Magazine’s 2020 Guardian of the Year, Anthony Fauci, passionately submitted that two doses of the vaccine were were necessary to immunize people from the virus. Two does. Not one. Two. If people only get one dose, they, their community, and the rest of the world is still susceptible to the virus. It doesn’t do any good to have only one dose. You need both.

So, why bother vaccinating the population with only 50% of the required doses of the vaccine? Why not identify the most essential and vulnerable people – the healthcare workers, the teachers, the first responders, the amazon delivery drivers, the food service employees – and fully vaccinate them? Then, the professionals who are willing and financially able to work from home and remain isolated can remain in their homes until more doses of the vaccine are available?

Say you have 20 million doses. You could get 10 million people fully vaccinated if you preserve the second dose for the first set of high priority people. You just got 10 million things done. But, if you give 20 million people their first dose and then run out of doses, then you have 20 million things in progress but nothing done.

Just do the math. Run the formulas. War game the scenarios. It is far better to limit work in progress, i.e., enforce your WIP limit, and get the most essential people fully vaccinated to buy time for the rest of the doses to be manufactured?

Just an opinion, from an agile perspective.

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