US ended 2020 with 14M vaccinations distributed and only 4M people vaccinated. Welcome to the next episode of Dazed and Confused!
Producing the vaccine in 38 weeks is a testament to private sector ingenuity but now we are botching the administration of the vaccine.
The gap between availability and administration is being blamed on reduced personnel hours over the holidays as if the virus was expected to take a break! Plus, the feds haven't paid for local governments to create mass vaccination infrastructure. Nine months to prepare and here we are fumbling in yet another unprecedented way.
We have 330M people but not all will need the vaccine. Leave out 75M under-18s for whom vaccine safety and efficacy are not yet established. That still leaves 250M people who need the vaccine ASAP. Instead we ordered 100M doses, enough for 50M people.
The federal government hedged their bets by spreading the total vaccine order across all manufacturers. When Pfizer repeatedly asked the government in the summer and fall whether the US needs to increase its order, the government said no. In late December, the US finally struck a deal with Pfizer and Moderna for an additional 100M doses by July 31, 2021. When AstraZeneca, J&J and GSK finish their trials and get approval we will have more, but not before spring.
The EU and Canada ordered plenty for their populations and then some. Israel has vaccinated 10% of its people already. So why can’t Virginia?!
Back to the million dollar question - when will we get the shot?
Our county's vaccine website has pages of content. For the timeline, it simply says unknown. If we have to wait for our state and local governments to build mass vax centers, we will be isolating into 2021!
There is only one way out of this mess.
The vaccination needs to be dispensed by CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, and pharmacies in our grocery stores - private sector outlets within a mile or two of where we live. These giants have the supply chain and distribution channels that our county cannot ever have. EVER!! The bubble on the US confirms we've redefined clusterf*** for failure to contain the disease. With delays in administration of the vaccine, the bubble will keep growing along with an immeasurable and unnecessary toll on individuals and the economy. I have faith in the private sector, so LET'S GO!