White House admits it has NO IDEA how many vaccine doses exist: 20million dose discrepancy emerges between what the CDC says it sent out vs how many have actually been administered
- New WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday the situation officials inherited from the Trump COVID-19 task force was’much worse than we could have managed’
- She said that they have no idea how many doses of the vaccine are actually in the country right now
- The CDC says 41million have gone out and 22million have been put in people’s arms but no one can account for the 20million difference
- It’s not as simple as the remainder being reserved for the first group to get their second shot
- Every state is vaccinating at a different pace and with a different set of eligibility criteria
- In New Jersey, people 65 and over and smokers of all ages can get the vaccine but in Alabama, only those 74 and over can get it
- Another problem is people not turning up for appointments and pharmacists rushing to give out the doses before they go to waste
- It’s unclear how many doses – if any – have had to be disposed of yet
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted on Monday officials had no idea how many vaccines were in reserve across the US
The White House on Monday admitted that it has no idea how many COVID vaccines there are in the country.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked at the daily briefing if the new team at least had a ball park idea of how many doses there were in the country that have not yet been given out.
She responded: ‘We’ve been here for five days to evaluate the supply so that we can release the maximum amount while also ensuring that everyone can get the second dose on the FDA recommended schedule.
‘So the confusion around this issue, which we acknowledge, there is some confusion, it speaks to a larger problem, which is what we’re inheriting from the prior administration, which is much worse than we could have imagined.’
Later, President Biden promised the country would be on par to do 1.5million a day within three weeks but he too said the administration did not know what it was walking into.
‘Time is of the essence. We are optimistic that we’ll have enough vaccine… we came in office without knowledge. We’ve gotten commitment from some o the producers they’ll make more in a relatively short time frame,’ he said.
He said that vaccines will be widely available for anyone who wants one in spring and that by the summer, the US will be ‘well on the way’ to getting herd immunity.
America has only given 6 percent of its population their first COVID-19 vaccine and 0.9 percent have had both shots.
The woefully slow roll-out has been labored with problems since the start with states left to handle their own distribution amid staff shortages, and while other countries storm ahead in dishing it out.
President Biden has given the ambitious target of giving 100million vaccines in his first 100 days in office. So far, he’s on track with more than 1million a day going out.
But with more than 328million in the US – including an unknown number who may not sign up to get it even when it becomes available – there are a number of issues that need to be addressed,
One huge problem is that the states say they are running out of doses, while the CDC’s data suggests they still have millions.
Another is that in certain states, some people can get access to it before others; New Jersey and Pennsylvania, for example, are allowing smokers of any age to get the vaccine without having to put up any proof that they actually smoke.
Another problem is that people are not showing up for appointments which puts the supply of dose at risk.
The vaccines have a short window to be used in – once defrosted and opened, they have to go in someone’s arm within six hours.
Anecdotes have started emerging of young, healthy people being randomly offered extra doses in pharmacies because the person who was meant to receive it didn’t show up. There are also stories of people in the eligible categories being unable to nail down an appointment for their first dose.
SHORTAGE VS SURPLUS
The CDC says 41million doses have been distributed across the country, but only 22million have actually gone in people’s arms.
It’s unclear if the remaining 20million doses are designed to be the second dose for those who have already had the first shot.
Per the most recent CDC data, 18.5million people have had their first vaccine and 3.2million have had both which equates to 5.6% and 0.9% of the US population.
The CDC says more than 41million doses have been distributed but only 21million have gone in arms. That number is higher at around 22million. The 20million difference accounts for some 2nd doses but not in every state and the Biden administration is scrambling to find out where they are
The US is behind several other countries in its vaccine program. These numbers show the percentage of the population that has received the first dose only
Where exactly the remaining 20million doses are remains unknown.
A large number are in storage but some Biden officials cited by The Daily Beast say they have been unable to nail down where exactly every dose in the country is because there was no streamlined system for tracking them put in place by the Trump administration.
While the federal government tries to find them, states are crying out for more.
According to the CDC, New York has been given 2.4million doses in total. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that the state had only received 1,868,650 in total to date which includes 1,304,050 first doses and 564,600 second doses.
So far, 1,144,70 have had their first dose and only 139,929 people have had both doses.
The 531, 350million discrepancy between the allotment Cuomo says he got and what the CDC claims was sent out has not yet been accounted for and it’s a problem that is happening all over the country.
RACE BETWEEN STATES
On average, 1.2million doses are going in people’s arms every day across the country but it varies wildly by state.
For example Alaska has given more than 12 percent of its population their first shot, but Nevada and Alabama are yet to hit 5 percent.
There has been no clear cut answer for when every state gets their next batch of vaccines and from where. Pfizer and Moderna are on different production schedules.
Former President Trump’s administration set the framework that the states would be given doses relative to their populations then they would be responsible for dishing them out.
Every state is vaccinating at a different pace and has its own set of eligibility criteria. Alaska is storming ahead with more than 12 percent of its population receiving the first dose. That is largely down to the fact it has a large veteran and military population and they are receiving doses faster through the Department of Defense
It means that while nationally, between 5 an 6 percent of the population have had their first shot, it is a different picture state by state.
Alaska, New Mexico, West Virginia, Connecticut and North and South Dakota are the fastest at getting the vaccine out. They have vaccinated 10 percent of their respective populations or more.
Some states say they are out of vaccine and not just because they are withholding their reserves to give as second shots for people who have already had the first
Alaska is by far the furthest ahead, having given 12.88 percent of its population their first shot.
One large reason for that is Alaska has the highest veteran and active military per capita population across the US.
They are receiving doses separately through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Department of Defense.
It also has a high native American population and those doses are being sent out through the Indian Health Service.
Alabama and Nevada, however, are yet to give five percent of their populations their first shot.
Alabama health officials say they simply do not have enough.
The CDC says Alabama has been given 521,255 doses and that it has given out 243,000 doses.
DIFFERENT ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
The states generally followed the same set of eligibility criteria to begin with. Elderly people and healthcare workers went first, with other front line workers behind them.
According to data released in June, there are around 36million people in America aged 70 and above.
But the way states are allowing people to get the vaccine means it’s impossible to know what percentage of them are getting it first.
The CDC has not released that data and it’s unclear if it has even collated it from the states.
The general rule was to prioritize those in nursing homes and those working in hospitals.
Then, it was opened up to over 65s. They become eligible at the same time as grocery store workers in New York, for example.
But in New Jersey, smokers of any age are also now allowed to get the vaccine because health officials say they are immuno-compromised.
Pennsylvania is following the same model and it’s causing outrage among the non-smoking population.
‘EXTRA’ DOSES BEING RANDOMLY GIVEN OUT SO THEY DON’T EXPIRE
Some people who happen to be in the right place at the right time are getting the vaccine so they don’t go to waste
Anecdotes have started emerging of people being randomly asked if they want the vaccine despite not fitting the eligibility criteria to avoid the doses having to be thrown out.
Multiple people have told of how their friends have called them from pharmacies or healthcare centers offering them the vaccine at the last minute because the people they were intended for did not show up.
In some cases, people have been randomly approached in the street by pharmacists.
The vaccines have a short shelf-life. Once defrosted, they have to be used within a matter of hours otherwise they are no longer effective.
It’s unclear if any have had to have been disposed of yet.
The news has caused some people to line up at pharmacies near closing time in the hope that they may get a dose.
But not every pharmacy across the country has even started receiving the vaccines.
In the same time, many people who are eligible and fit the criteria are struggling to book legitimate appointments through government websites.
With no federal guidelines issued for procedure on what to do with extra vaccine doses that have already been defrosted, some providers are taking matters into their own hands. Pictired above is a vaccine line in Seminole County, Florida, where leftover vaccine doses were administered to shoppers at the end of the day rather than being thrown away
Seminole County officials have now urged residents not to line up as a new system is in place
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