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Loading Dock to the Upper Arm

We've been waiting with bated breath for a Covid vaccine and now it is within our grasp! With the encouraging efficacy rates from Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, we will soon have the approvals needed for general use. Thankfully, these pharma behemoths have kept ahead of the chicken-and-egg problem and manufactured millions of doses already.

Here's the good news:

  • Pfizer and Moderna will provide 44M doses by the end of the year which will be enough for 22M adults in January.

  • Pharma companies are ramping up production and will get to hundreds of millions by Spring and billions by the end of 2021.

Tens of millions sounds great right now, but we are definitely in this for the long haul!

44M is a fraction of what Operation Warp Speed (OWS) promised, which is 300M by the end of this year. Of course we are not surprised. This PR-led administration has always relied on announcement before analysis. They ignored how complicated it will be to produce the vaccine, let alone manufacture it at mass scale in the middle of a pandemic.

Still, 44M is better than 0. For that I am thankful.

Here's the mind-boggling question: how do we get the vaccine to the recipients? Anxiously, I set out to research.

The Feds have released several documents, some of which are heavy on goals and presentation, light on substance. They plan to control a central stash of vaccine and to support the distribution through a website.

YIKES! The last time the Feds tried to put up a new application was for the health exchange and we know how well that turned out.

This is how HHS plans to distribute the vaccine.

The federal government and 64 state and local jurisdictions will be involved in the distribution. 64 in 50 states plus DC?!

Pre-approved administration sites will request vaccines from their jurisdiction. The National Academies of Medicine has developed a prioritization framework for ethical distribution of the vaccine. The distribution centers and jurisdictions will follow these guidelines. Check.

We will be vaccinated in hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, pharmacies and government run mass vaccination locations. If this is handled as well as Covid testing, Lord help us!

There must be secret plans to move the vaccines to the 64 jurisdictions because I couldn't find anything remotely connected to this.

Even though transition planning is halted (as of today), I pray that the incoming administration is fully focused on the logistics of getting the vaccine from the "loading dock to the upper arm" as the Washington Post aptly put it this morning. If we are going to wing this one, then we are easily looking at 2022 to come out of hiding. Did I say Lord help us?


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