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Bringing the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of Americans is a slow start



Elizabeth Way

| USA Today

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According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Wednesday, more than 12.4 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine had been shipped to all states in the United States, but as of Wednesday, only more than 2.5 million people had been vaccinated.

Officials say that in the next few weeks, the rate of COVID-19 vaccination will be greatly accelerated. However, at present, they pointed out many reasons for this lag, including the vaccination system is still accelerating, federal funds have not been allocated to the states, and the requirement that states reserve vaccines for long-term care facilities.

General Gustave Perna of Operation Warp Speed ​​said at a briefing on Tuesday that except for two holidays and three major snowstorms.

He said that although the introduction of vaccines has been challenging, the problems with the system are being resolved.

Perna said: “This is what I have confidence in: every day, everyone will get better, and I believe that as we move forward, the intake will greatly increase.”

Federal vaccine program “Warp Speed ​​Action” will achieve its delivery goals The program’s scientific adviser Moncef Slaoui said that by the end of this year, there will be 20 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

He said: “There is a learning curve in the system.” “As vaccines in pharmacies become more and more used, it will become simpler. I hope things will develop quickly. What we should focus on is the acceleration in the coming weeks. “

The vaccine supply is expected to skyrocket

The medical director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messenier, said that the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use only 20 days ago.

She said: “I want to say how far we have traveled is an extraordinary achievement.” “However, we have always expected and prepared for the bumps on the road.”

One of the biggest challenges is the need to train people to prepare and manage two vaccines that require special storage and handling, especially the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored and reformulated at minus 94 degrees before being administered.

John Grabenstein, editor of the Immune Action Alliance and former head of the US Department of Defense’s military immunization program, said that such training will not begin until the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the use of the vaccine.

He said: “As more and more people are trained and can shoot, daily achievements will increase, so the gap should be reduced.”

In addition, state and local health systems have been waiting for federal funding to support what will become the largest mass vaccination program in US history.

Grabenstein said: “This will not happen overnight; this is not a direct deposit.” “They don’t have the funds to pay for overtime or additional employees.”

The coronavirus relief and spending plan signed by US President Donald Trump on Sunday includes more than $8 billion in funding for the distribution of vaccines to states, but it will take time for the money to reach the states.

“We are reviewing this funding and the activities recommended by Congress. We will transfer these funds to states that need them as soon as possible,” said Dr. Henry Walker of COVID-19. Incident manager at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The hospital is under great pressure

Hospitals that provide vaccinations for frontline medical staff in winter are under tremendous pressure because the surge in COVID-19 cases in winter swept them.

Messonnier said: “After a year of pandemic, we are launching a vaccine campaign, which is overwhelming health care providers and public health departments, and we are also launching a vaccine campaign during the winter holidays.”

The hospital must also stagger the staff’s vaccines and spread them out, so that not everyone in every department is vaccinated on the same day. Claire Hannan, executive director of the Immunization Managers Association, said that because a certain percentage of vaccinated people feel unwell after a day or two, they want to ensure that a large number of employees are not sick on the same day. .

Long-term care inventory

Another complication is the requirements of the Federal Long-Term Care Drug Partnership Program. It dispatched vaccination teams from Walgreens, CVS, and Managed Health Care Associates into long-term care facilities to vaccinate residents and employees with a view to vaccinating large numbers of people quickly and effectively.

To ensure that there are enough vaccines for one of the visits, the rule requires participating states to allocate enough vaccines from federal funding to ensure that everyone in the facility can be vaccinated immediately.

Messonnier said: “They want to make sure there are enough vaccines available so that when they enter the facility, everyone in the facility has enough places to want the vaccine.”

Countries participating in the plan must allocate at least 50% of the required vaccines and transfer these doses to the plan at least one week before the vaccination clinic of the designated clinic is held to ensure that there are enough vaccines on hand.

She said: “Especially this week, this may be the reason for some of the differences.”

Claire Hannan, executive director of the Immunization Managers Association, said that vaccination in long-term care facilities began in 13 states last week and will be carried out in all states in the first week of January.

She said that the dose allocated to the plan will take some time to show up in the “Management” column.

Hannan said that in many ways, this stage of vaccination (for medical staff and those in long-term care facilities) is the easy part.

She said: “In the next few weeks, we will really see the impact of resource shortages because we are vaccinating necessary workers, workers over 65, and those with basic conditions.”

In particular, as states open up vaccination to people over 65 years old, and so does Florida and Texas, supply will continue for weeks (or even months) to meet demand. Countries need proper systems to handle schedules and vaccinate through proper social evacuation-this is not easy.

Florida is experiencing high demand because older people sometimes wait in line all night while others deal with broken dating software, depending on how their county decides how to organize a vaccination clinic.

“The state government recognizes the high demand for vaccines, and we will continue to work with county health departments and hospitals to help them prioritize vaccinations because we will continue to receive more vaccines from the federal government,” State spokesperson Meridi Meredith Beatrice, said in an email to USA Today.

Hannan said: “The states do not have enough time or resources to build these systems, so there will be trouble. However, I’m back to the bottom line again-putting weapons into service every day is successful.”


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