Blotched Rollout of Covid-19 Vaccine

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Day 283: Stay Safe Minnesota

Only 30% of the 15.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed to the states have been administered. Only four states have reportedly used half and the other 12 states have distributed fewer than quarters of the distributed vaccines.

In The Hill, Anagha Srikanth writes “Nearly a month after the Food and Drug Administration granted an Emergency Use Authorization for two COVID-19 vaccines, more than 4.2 million initial doses have been administered (each individual requires two doses). But frontline workers are criticizing the rollout, which has been rocky.”

Basically, the federal government is botching the vaccine rollout. They thought their job ends when the vaccine arrives in the states, and there’s really no well-delineated plan.

Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s school of public health, told the Guardian

A number of states have few sites that can handle the ultra-cold storage required for the Pfizer product, so, for example, front-line workers in Georgia have had to travel 40 minutes to get a shot. At some hospitals, residents treating COVID patients protested that they had not received the vaccine while administrators did, even though they work from home and don’t treat patients” Elisabeth Rosenthal of the Kaiser Health News writes in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Instead of a central health-directed strategy, we have multiple companies competing to capture their financial piece of the pandemic health-care pie, each with its patent-protected product as well as its own supply chain and shipping methods.

Elisabeth Rosenthal of the Kaiser Health News (source: The Philadelphia Inquirer)

The White House scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui told CNN the the vaccination administration is the role of the states or ask the federal government for help, when needed.

“It’s been two and a half weeks, almost three weeks, and indeed it has been slower than planned. We are inviting them to ask them for help and we help them. We have ambitious objectives and if we don’t meet them, we take accountability and we’ll work to find solutions rather than describe the problem.”

States are Slow in Covid-19 Vaccination

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) COVID vaccination tacker site, as of Jan 4 more than 15.4 millions doses of vaccines have been distributed to the states but about 4.56K doses (fewer than 30%) have been administered by the states.

I wish we had vaccinated 20 million, obviously. We worked day and night to have these vaccines available and we will continue to work days and night to have them immunized.

Moncef Slaoui, Operation Warp Speed chief scientific adviser on CNN

According to CNN’s Jan 4 coronavirus updates, of the vaccines distributed to the states only ‘four states have administered at least half of the Covid-19 vaccine doses‘ meanwhile in 12 states, fewer than a quarter of the doses that were distributed have been administered.

FDA Recommends Both Vaccine Doses

Because of the short supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the US, some health experts are suggesting the cutting the Moderna vaccine into half doses to vaccinate more and get more people protected from the coronavirus.

On the suggestions, including Dr Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, to consider giving half-doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine to people ages 18-55, Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN ” “He’s saying that the half dose for younger people is as good as the full dose, but I want to check that out myself before I start talking about it. I totally trust [Slaoui]. But I want to look at the data myself.”

Responding to the suggestions, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and Dr. Peter Marks, who heads FDA’s vaccine division, said in a statement:

“We have been following the discussions and news reports about reducing the number of doses, extending the length of time between doses, changing the dose (half-dose), or mixing and matching vaccines in order to immunize more people against COVID-19. These are all reasonable questions to consider and evaluate in clinical trials. However, at this time, suggesting changes to the FDA-authorized dosing or schedules of these vaccines is premature and not rooted solidly in the available evidence. Without appropriate data supporting such changes in vaccine administration, we run a significant risk of placing public health at risk, undermining the historic vaccination efforts to protect the population from COVID-19.”

“There’s no data on efficacy of a half dose. If you use a half dose, you’re just making it up. You’re just hoping that you’re right,”added Offit, a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. “Why would you dare to make up something when you don’t know whether or not it works?” an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Paul Offit told CNN.

“Combine this vision of disorder with the nation’s high death toll, and it’s not surprising that there is intense jockeying and lobbying — by schools, unions, even people with different types of preexisting diseases — over who should get the vaccine first, second and third. It’s hard to “wait your turn” in a country where there are 200,000 new cases and as many as 2,000 new daily COVID-19 deaths — a tragic per capita order of magnitude higher than in many other developed countries,” Kaiser Health News (KHN) writes in the Inquirer.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Jan 5, 9 a.m.) 17,020,575 doses have been distributed and 4,836,469 doses administered.

Coronavirus Pandemic Watch

According to the MDH latest tally (as of Jan 5, 11 a.m.) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 425,261 (out of 5,738,715 tested) with 5,461 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins database (as of Jan 5, 1:21 p.m.) there are 20,949,471 confirmed covid19 infection with 355,650 deaths. Globally the covid19 virus has infected 86,165,772 with 1,863,065 deaths.