Categories
Canada

COVID-19: major delays in delivery of Pfizer doses

Quebec will have to deal with 100,000 fewer doses of vaccines than expected by mid-February, due to a temporary reduction in deliveries announced by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which must renovate its production plant in Europe.

• Read also: Up to 19,630 deaths in Canada by January 24

• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic

This work will result, over four weeks, in an average reduction of 50% of the deliveries of vaccine that Pfizer planned for Canada from its facilities located in Puurs, Belgium.

At a press briefing, Major General Dany Fortin, responsible for the logistics of vaccine distribution for Canada, said that the delays will be felt especially in the last week of January, during which he no longer expects ” to receive a quarter of the planned doses of the vaccine from Pfizer / BioNTech.

Ottawa expects to receive half of what was expected in the first week of February, then two-thirds the following week.

Impact in Quebec

For Quebec, this will translate to 38,025 fewer doses during the week of January 25 alone, slightly more than the number of residents it wanted to vaccinate in private seniors’ residences (RPA) by February. .

The following week, the province will be deprived of about 43,875 doses compared to what was expected, said the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé.

The impact will be less next week (4,875 fewer doses) as the order is already about to be shipped.

As for the second week of February, proportionately, we can expect about 28,000 doses to be missed on schedule.

“Our teams are already working on establishing a new dose distribution schedule,” Minister of Health Christian Dubé said on Twitter.

“We are continuing our operations with the doses received this week and the 34,000 doses of Moderna which will arrive today,” his press officer, Marjaurie Côté-Boileau, had indicated earlier.

The announced delays confirm Quebec in its decision to postpone the second dose from 42 to 90 days, as confirmed Thursday. “It was the right decision,” reiterated the minister’s office. We need to save as many people as possible, with a very limited number of vaccines. And Pfizer’s temporary production slowdown only reinforces this choice. ”

“Normal”, says Trudeau

Other European countries affected by delays in delivery of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine strongly denounced the situation which they considered “unacceptable”.

“It is normal that there are unforeseen events,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in front of his residence at Rideau Cottage. He recalled that agreements have been made with a total of seven pharmaceuticals.

“This is a temporary delay, not a loss. The vaccines will be delivered later, ”insisted on his side the Federal Minister of Supply, Anita Anand, who learned the news Thursday evening.

Ultimately, the work Pfizer is doing will “dramatically increase the doses available to patients at the end of February and March,” said company representative in Canada, Christina Antoniou.

– With the collaboration of Émilie Bergeron, Agence QMI, and AFP

Categories
Canada

Efficacy of vaccines beyond 42 days between doses unknown

There is not enough data to know the effectiveness of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna if the 2nd dose is given beyond 42 days after the first, the public health of Canada said Thursday.

• Read also: Quebec ready to wait up to 90 days for the 2nd dose

• Read also: 2,132 new cases and 64 deaths in Quebec

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

If Quebec waits up to 90 days before administering second dosesThe provincial health authorities will therefore need to closely monitor the impact and collect data on it.

This is what Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, said in a briefing Thursday.

“In terms of effectiveness with the interval between the two doses, we have enough data to say that yes, it is effective if we have an interval of up to 42 days. After 42 days, we don’t know, ”he said.

However, he acknowledged that the stakes are real in terms of the variable flow of doses of COVID-19 vaccines arriving in Canada and that he understands that Quebec must make difficult choices.

A joint statement released Thursday by the chief medical officers of the provinces and the federal government underlines the obligation of the provinces to document the effects that come with the choice to stretch beyond 42 days the time between the two doses.

“When deemed necessary for a program to increase the interval between doses beyond 42 days, based on specific epidemiological data and their impact, this program should closely monitor the observed effects and share the results regularly, which will be added to the ever-expanding evidence base ”, we can read.

According to Dr. Njoo, Quebec’s national director of public health, Horacio Arruda, endorsed the joint statement.

The Pfizer vaccine is designed so that 21 days between the administration of the first and second dose. Moderna’s plan is 28 days apart.

However, with the unstable flow of first deliveries, Quebec chose to postpone the administration of the second dose in order to distribute a first dose to as many people as possible.

Given the supply issues, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) agreed that it was possible to delay the administration of the 2nd dose for up to 42 days. However, François Legault’s government announced Thursday that it will allow a wait of up to 90 days.

In their joint statement, Chief Medical Officers across Canada say they support NACI’s recommendations. “The flexibility afforded by reasonable stretching of the dose interval up to 42 days, depending on operational needs, and the increased predictability of vaccine dose supply, supports our public health goal of protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible, ”he wrote.

Note that the number of doses arriving in Canada will increase significantly as of April. Major General Dany Fortin, responsible for logistics for the federal government, indicated that it will be around one million doses that will be sent per week.

Categories
Canada

28 million doses of vaccines injected in 46 countries, according to WHO

In 36 days, some 28 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been injected in about 46 countries around the world, World Health Organization director of health emergencies Michael Ryan said on Wednesday.

Despite the start of vaccination campaigns, he was concerned about the speed of transmission observed in some countries, particularly because of new, more contagious variants.

• Read also: Residents and staff of CHSLDs vaccinated next week

• Read also: 10 million people have received an injection in the United States

• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic

“We are entering the second year (of the pandemic) and it could even get even harder, when you see the rates of transmission,” he said during one of the regular question and answer sessions that the WHO organizes for the general public.

As for the vaccination campaigns, he regretted that they are mainly done by rich countries. “I think we are at 28 million doses of vaccine administered so far. Five different vaccines or platforms were used, ”said Dr. Ryan.

“Approximately 46 countries are currently vaccinating, but there is only one low income,” said Michael Ryan, while 38 of these 46 are rich countries.

“There are populations who want and need vaccines and who are not going to receive them unless, and until, we share better,” he said, adding “everyone must do more”.

WHO and the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) set up the Covax mechanism to distribute COVID vaccines to underprivileged countries, but the system suffers from a beggar-thy-neighbor tendency of rich countries and a lack of funding.

WHO’s goal is to deliver doses for up to 20% of the population of Covax participating countries by the end of the year. The UN agency hopes to send the first vaccines in late January or February.

The pandemic, which broke out in China at the end of 2019, killed 1,964,557 people, according to a report established by AFP on Wednesday from official sources.

Categories
Delhi Jammu and Kashmir The Buzz

Vaccine drive accelerates, doses reach far corners of India


New Delhi, January 13

India’s drive against COVID-19 gathered momentum on Wednesday with planes carrying vaccines flying into airports across the country from where the precious cargo was dispatched to small cities and towns in readiness for the inoculation exercise beginning January 16.

From Assam to Goa and from Jammu and Kashmir to Kerala, the vaccines were carefully and swiftly transported to far corners of the country, a day after the first consignment of the Covishield vaccine from the Oxford/AstraZeneca stable rolled out of the Serum Institute of India manufacturing facility in Pune.

According to sources, 95 per cent of the 1.1 crore doses of Covishield vaccine purchased by the government have been delivered and shipped to nearly 60 consignee points across India in two days.

Of the 55 lakh doses of indigenously developed Covaxin of Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech ordered by the Centre, the first tranche of 2.4 lakh doses have been dispatched to 12 states.

Covaxin has been sent to 12 sites, one each in Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, Lucknow and Hyderabad, according to official sources.

The vaccines have been allocated to all states and UTs in proportion to their healthcare workers database, the Health Ministry said.

The Mumbai airport authorities said it has facilitated the delivery of about 2,72,400 doses of the Covishield vaccine to 22 domestic destinations on Wednesday, starting with low-cost carrier GoAir’s first flight to Goa with  23,500 doses of Covishield vaccine.

These shipments were carried out by SpiceJet, IndiGo, GoAir and Vistara to Bagdogra, Rajkot, Ranchi, Imphal, Agartala, Cochin, Bhopal, Kanpur, Jammu, Srinagar, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Gorakhpur, Raipur, Dehradun, Varanasi, Indore, Trivandrum and Jabalpur, it said.

On Tuesday, consignments were sent from Pune to 13 cities including Delhi.

As the vials began reaching their destinations, in readiness for the pan-India vaccination drive that will be launched on Saturday, states firmed up their plans and fine-tuned logistical details.

In Delhi, where the drive will begin in 89 centres, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his AAP government will provide the vaccine free if the Centre fails to do so.

He said he has already appealed to the Centre as there are many people in the country who can’t afford the life-saving jab.

In accordance with the national priority list, the vaccine will be first given to healthcare and frontline workers. While Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand and Union territories of Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir were among those to receive the first consignment of the vaccines on Wednesday, others like Maharashtra and West Bengal started their transportation to various districts.

A special vehicle carrying COVID-19 vaccines was held up and had to take a five-kilometer detour in West Bengal’s Purba Bardhaman district after the national highway was blocked by protesters led by state minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury who were agitating against the new farm laws, sources said.

The van, piloted by the West Bengal Police, was on its way to Bankura and Purulia to deliver the vaccines when it was stranded despite a ‘green corridor’ being arranged for its swift movement, they said.

Chowdhury, who is the state library services minister, said he was not aware of the movement of the vaccine van and cleared the road once it was brought to his notice, but by that time the vehicle had been already diverted.

The first consignment of about 94,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine reached the Madhya Pradesh capital on a scheduled flight from Mumbai, a state government official said.

From the airport, insulated vans of the health department transported the boxes—that signal India entering a decisive phase in its fight against the pandemic—to the State Vaccine Centre where Medical Education Minister Visvas Sarang inspected the arrangements. The doses will be dispatched to eight districts from Bhopal.

Kerala, too, received its first Covishield vaccine consignment on Wednesday morning on a Go Air flight that landed at Kochi. Another flight was expected to land in Thiruvananthapuram later in the day.

Sources in the National Health Mission sources said of the 4.33 lakh doses of the vaccine, 1,100 will be sent to Mahe, an enclave of Puducherry.

The vaccine will be stored in the regional vaccine centres at Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode from where it will be distributed to 133 centres.

So far, 3,62,870 people have registered themselves for a shot.

Giving details of the vaccination plans for Maharashtra, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state had already received 9.83 lakh doses of the total requirement of 17.5 lakh for the first phase.

Of these, 9.63 vials were from SII and 20,000 from Bharat Biotech, the state minister told reporters.

“We have to give the doses twice to a person in a gap of four weeks, hence 55 percent of the around eight lakh registered health workers will undergo vaccination as of now,” he said.

The Centre, he said, has asked the state to reduce the number of inoculation centres from 511 to 350, saying the government should focus on other emergencies as well.

Each vaccination session will cater to a maximum of 100 beneficiaries per day and the Union Health ministry said it has advised the states not to organise “unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day”.

“States have been advised to organise vaccination sessions taking into account 10 percent reserve/wastage doses and an average of 100 vaccinations per session each day.

“Therefore, any undue haste on the part of states to organise unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day is not advised,” the Union Ministry said.

It also said that states and UTs have also been advised to increase the number of vaccination session sites that would be operational every day in a progressive manner as the vaccination process stabilises and moves forward.

The country’s financial capital, Mumbai, which will have 72 centres, received over 1.39 lakh Covishield vaccine doses, said civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

Health department staffers of the BMC brought the vaccines from neighbouring Pune under police security, it said. The civic body has created a centralised cold storage facility for vaccines in Kanjurmarg.

The towns of Aurangabad and Thane in the state got their share of the first doses too.

Goa Health Services Director Jose D’Sa told PTI that two boxes comprising 23,500 doses of the Covishield vaccine were received in the morning.

Around 18,000 health workers in the coastal state will be covered during the initial phase, another health official said.

The northeast state of Assam received its second consignment of COVID-19 vaccines when a cargo flight of a private airline carried 12,000 doses of Covaxin weighing around 78.5 kg,  from Hyderabad to Guwahati.

“The consignment was shipped by Bharat Biotech and handed over to state government officials within six minutes of its arrival,” said an Airports Authority of India spokesperson.

The first batch of 2.40 lakh vials of COVID-19 vaccine for Assam and Meghalaya had landed on Tuesday.

Guwahati’s LGBI Airport has been marked as the nodal point of distribution of vaccines for the northeast.

Assam and Tripura welcomed their first lot of Covishield doses.

“The vaccine containers were transported to a National Health Mission (NHM) storage facility at Gorkhabasti area,” State Immunization Officer Kallol Roy told reporters in Agartala.

SpiceJet said it had transported 3.5 tonnes of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday from Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad to 11 cities.

GoAir said it was airlifting a total of 69,600 vials of the vaccine.

The Mumbai airport said that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) implemented by it in anticipation of the vaccine distribution saw the terminal register a cargo processing time of just seven minutes, right from goods acceptance to dispatch at the ramp, it added.

Besides, the airport has deployed a dedicated COVID-19 task force to reduce dwell time and facilitate advanced planning and collaboration between the airport and all stakeholders in this process, it said. — PTI

 





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Categories
Canada

Ottawa passes round for 16 million doses of Moderna vaccine

The federal government has decided not to exercise its purchase option, providing that it can acquire 16 million doses of the vaccine from Moderna, in addition to the 40 million already ordered.

The office of the Minister of Public Services and Supply, Anita Anand, explained that they chose to ignore these vaccines because they would have arrived too late.

“If the Government of Canada exercised the option of acquiring the 16 million doses in addition to our current purchase of 40 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, these 16 million would not have arrived before the end of 2021”, assert the minister’s office in a written statement.

The 16 million vaccines would therefore have arrived late in relation to the federal government’s goal of inoculating all Canadians who want it by the end of September.

“Consequently, the Government of Canada did not exercise this option. Canada retains the possibility of negotiating additional doses if it chooses to do so, ”said the Minister’s entourage.

The latter indicated that her team is instead focusing on relationships with pharmaceuticals, to ensure that deliveries arrive quickly.

Canada has, for the moment, ordered 40 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine and 20 million of that from Pfizer-BioNTech, ultimately enabling 30 million people to be inoculated. Ottawa also has options available to purchase up to 56 million more doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, not to mention agreements for tens of millions more doses with other companies.

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Georgia Headline USA New York Politics

COVID-19: Joe Biden will release ALL available vaccine doses

President-elect Joe Biden will distribute all doses of coronavirus vaccines Pfizer and Moderna provide to the US as soon as they are available, reversing the Trump administration’s strategy of holding back half the supply as booster doses for those who get their first shots, a transition team spokesperson told CNN. 

President-elect Jo Biden’s transition team said he will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines 

‘The President-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,’ said transition spokesman TJ Ducklo said. 

‘He supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now. 

‘He will share additional details next week on how his Administration will begin releasing available doses when he assumes office on January 20th.’ 

Releasing all available doses would double the supply of vaccines to US states, in the hopes of speeding the agonizingly slow rollout.  

The US has only vaccinated 6.25 million people against coronavirus, despite distributing nearly 21.5 million doses of the shots and fewer than two percent of Americans have gotten their first shots, Bloomberg data reveals. 

But some of the states that have gotten through the doses allocated to them fastest  got smaller initial shipments, raising questions over whether the additional doses could simply clog an already-sluggish distribution and administration chain. 

Patience is wearing thin in the US, where a record 4,085 people died of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the death toll to more than 365,000, with nearly 275,000 new infections in the past 24 hours. 

President-elect Biden will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to speed the US rollout that has seen just 6.25 million Americans vaccinated - less than 2% of the population - and ending Trump's plan to hold back doses

President-elect Biden will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to speed the US rollout that has seen just 6.25 million Americans vaccinated – less than 2% of the population – and ending Trump’s plan to hold back doses 

More than 21 million doses of  COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to states but some like North Dakota have received fewer than promised

More than 21 million doses of  COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to states but some like North Dakota have received fewer than promised 

Vaccination is off to a ‘rocky start,’ Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr Francis Collins, admitted, adding that he was unsurprised by the stumbling blocks the US has hit so far. 

Nationally, the rollout effort is in chaos, with every state, county, city and even hospital creating its own plan. 

As a result, the success of each of these programs varies wildly from state to state. While millions of doses of precious COVID-19 vaccine are sitting on shelves in some states, others are quickly getting shots and arms. Some cities and counties are running out of doses before the federal government can restock them. 

North Dakota leads the pack for turning doses delivered into shots-in-arms. It has used 62 percent of its 43,950 doses – more than any other state. 

West Virginia – a state known for some of the worst health problems in the nation and the seat of ‘deaths of despair’ – has already vaccinated more than four percent of its residents, the highest percentage of any state, according to Reuters. 

BEST AND WORST: North Dakota and West Virginia have consistently used more  than half of the doses allocated to them, while Mississippi an Georgia have struggled to give out a third of their supplies

BEST AND WORST: North Dakota and West Virginia have consistently used more  than half of the doses allocated to them, while Mississippi an Georgia have struggled to give out a third of their supplies

States in the South have struggled. Mississippi has given out just 18 percent of nearly 160,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine sent there. Georgia hasn’t done much better, using less than 20 percent of its doses. 

Those states as well as Alabama and South Carolina have vaccinated just one percent of their populations, falling below even the abysmal national vaccination rate. Just 1.8 percent of Americans have gotten their first doses of vaccines. 

Dr Anthony Fauci said that starting close to the holidays is in part to blame for the delays in the US vaccine rollout  and Americans should ‘give it a little slack’ as anger mounts over the slow rollout. But he added that: ‘If we don’t catch up on what the original goal was, then we really need to make some changes about what we’re doing.’ 

WHERE THE VACCINE ROLLOUT IS GOING WELL: STATES THAT GOT FEWER DOSES THAN EXPECTED AND HAVE FLEXIBLE PLANS ARE AVOIDING DELAYS

North Dakota was promised more than 9,750 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine per week, but was initially only receiving about half that many. The state was short-changed on Moderna doses too, but by a smaller margin. 

The state is slated to receive about 10,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine a week this month.  

Disappointing initial allocations turned out to have a silver lining: while states like New York are leaving hundreds of thousands of doses on the self – igniting fury from Governor Andrew Cuomo – North Dakota is flying through them. 

‘I think the biggest challenge is not having enough doses for (getting) everybody vaccinated who wants to be vaccinated,’ state Immunization Director Molly Howell told the Dickinson Press. 

‘I think so far things have gone well. I haven’t been sitting here thinking, ‘oh I wish we had done this,’ or ‘we could have done that.” 

She added that the state may run into delays as they receive higher volumes of vaccine doses, and still thinks the timeline between the arrival of dose in North Dakota and actual vaccinations could be shorter. 

But things are going smoothly in long-term health care facilities, where  the manager of one chain said they were seeing no delays between the delivery of vaccine doses and their administration.  

‘A lot of people are looking to us as a state, because after the first week we had, I believe, something like 90% of doses allocated to our state in arms – which was really unheard of elsewhere,’ says Gretchen Garofoli, a pharmacist and clinical associate professor at West Virginia University, told NPR.  

West Virginia has also gone its own way in some respects of the rollout. 

While most states partnered with pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate care home residents and staff through a federal program, West Virginia is the only state that declined. 

Garofoli says that the state has a large number of small family-run pharmacies, especially in rural areas. 

So West Virginia has tapped up these local shops to take on the vaccination effort, delivering doses to 250 pharmacies – and it seems to be working, as the state becomes the unlikely dark horse, leading the nation for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

WHERE THE ROLLOUT IS GOING WORST: GEORGIA, MISSISSIPPI, SOUTH CAROLINA AND ALABAMA HAVE ONLY VACCINATED 1% OF THEIR POPULATIONS  

As a whole the US has only vaccinated 1.8 percent of the population – but some states are falling behind even that painfully slow rate. 

Mississippi has the nation’s worst rate. The state has given out only 28,000 doses of vaccine, inoculating 0.95 percent of its population. 

Alabama is fairing little better. With 49,000 doses injected, the state has vaccinated exactly one percent of its population. 

Georgia and South Carolina have eked out slightly better results, vaccinating 1.16 percent and  1.17 percent of their populations, respectively. 

Rigidity has proved a recipe for disaster. As of January 4, Mississippi was still trying to get its health care workers  inoculated. It requires workers to schedule appointments at drive-thru vaccination sites. 

That might now be feasible for Mississippi nurses and doctors. The state hit its peak of 1,500 hospitalized coronavirus patients on January 5 – but health officials there suspect the worst is yet to come.  

HOW CONNECTICUT IS VACCINATING AT TWICE THE RATE OF NEW YORK WITH A FLEXIBLE ROLLOUT AND ‘LAST-MINUTE’ DOSE SHARING

Connecticut has led the race to vaccinate residents against COVID-19 since it received its first doses – thanks, in part, to a willingness to play a little fast and loose.  

The Constitution State was one of the first in the U.S. to get shots in the arms of more than two percent of its population, with at least 93,000 immunized as of Thursday.  

What’s more, Gov Ned Lamont (D) said on Monday that, by the end of the week, all nursing home residents and staff who want an initial dose of the jab will have received it.

By comparison, Connecticut’s neighbor, New York, has had a sluggish rollout.

The Empire State, with five times Connecticut’s population, has administered just 313,000 jabs to frontline health care workers and nursing home staff and residents.

New York has used just one-third of the vaccine doses allocated to it by the federal government, and vaccinated just 1.6 percent of its population. 

In New York City – which has seen more deaths than any other city in the nation – only about 145,000 people have received at least one dose – 1.7 percent of the city’s population.

So why the discrepancy?  

Public health experts say that New York has been more rigid in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying fewer people to get the vaccines, and does not have a plan –  like Connecticut’s – to send unused doses from one location to another.

The result is a painfully slow rollout and hundreds of thousands of doses of vaccines sitting on shelves in New York. 

Connecticut has administered at least 93,000 initial doses of its coronavirus vaccine (blue bar, right)  – inoculating more than 2% of its population, compared to 313,000 doses for New York (red bar, right), which has vaccinated just 1.6% of its population 

Connecticut has also used more doses of its distributed coronavirus jabs at 62% compared to just 33.5% for New York

Connecticut has also used more doses of its distributed coronavirus jabs at 62% compared to just 33.5% for New York

Over the last week, Connecity has used between 50% and 65% of its vaccine supply with New York has used between 40% and 28%

Over the last week, Connecity has used between 50% and 65% of its vaccine supply with New York has used between 40% and 28%

Public health experts say Connecticut has been more lax in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying more people to get immunized. Pictured: Nurse Susan McCarthy gives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Lino Fernandes, an Environmental Services Aide, at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut, December 15,

Public health experts say Connecticut has been more lax in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying more people to get immunized. Pictured: Nurse Susan McCarthy gives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Lino Fernandes, an Environmental Services Aide, at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut, December 15,

There is no single national vaccine rollout plan and instead each state has had to come up with its own plan.

Despite sharing a border, New York’s and Connecticut’s plan differ drastically especially with who is included in each state’s first phase.

New York’s first phase is very rigid and includes solely frontline healthcare workers as well as residents and staff in nursing homes and care facilities.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s first of three phases is much more lax and more loosely defines who is classified as a healthcare worker.

This includes:

  •  Doctors, nurses, and allied healthcare providers seeing patients
  • Licensed pharmacists and registered pharmacy technicians working on site in pharmacies 
  • Custodial, dietary, administrative & support staff working in patient care settings 
  • Students doing clinical rotations  
  • School nurses
  • First Responders actively responding to medical 911 calls or involved in care for COVID or suspected COVID cases
  • Home health providers, homemaker companions, PCAs 
  • Dentists, dental hygienists, and other oral health staff 
  • Death care workers entering healthcare settings, homes, or with exposure to decedents 

Dr Howard Forman, director of the Yale School of Public Health Health Care Management Program, told Medium that Connecticut is letting healthcare facilities determine who qualifies as a phase one candidate. 

‘If you look at New York, it’s far more prescriptive as to who is a health care worker and who is a frontline and who is a patient-facing health care worker,’ he said. 

‘I think our hospitals and health care systems have it in their interest to vaccinate health care workers and frontline health care workers first, but you also want to make sure that if you have doses around, that you are getting them out there as quickly as possible.’ 

He added that New York’s strictness may be causing a conundrum for hospitals.

What’s more, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo (D) has said that if hospitals or healthcare systems vaccinate someone out of the state-designated order, they face a $1 million fine.

But, at the same time, any hospital that does not use all its COVID-19 vaccine supply within seven days of receipt is slapped with a $100,00 fine. 

‘I think [Lamont] put fewer rules in place than a state like New York did about who can get the doses and who can’t get the doses,’ Forman told Medium. 

‘I don’t think he scared people [distributing vaccines] by saying: ‘If you go anywhere outside these lines I am going to take you to jail.’ 

‘I think right now we need compassionate stewardship so that we get through this process as well as we can.’ 

Meanwhile, New York has been very rigid, only giving out vaccines to frontline workers and nursing home residents and staff. Pictured: A staff member at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitationreceives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacist Craig Brandt in Brooklyn, New York, Janaury 4

Meanwhile, New York has been very rigid, only giving out vaccines to frontline workers and nursing home residents and staff. Pictured: A staff member at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitationreceives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacist Craig Brandt in Brooklyn, New York, Janaury 4

This more broader definition has led to more people per 100,00 being given their first dose in Connecticut than in New York.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker, 2,830 per 100.000 Connecticut residents have received an initial dose.

In New York, this rate falls to 1,819 per 100,000.

What’s more, a tracker from Bloomberg shows that Connecticut has used 62.1 percent of the shots that the federal government had distributed to the state so far.

By comparison, New York has used just 31 percent.

The slow pace of the rollout in New York has led to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio clashing with Cuomo. 

De Blasio has called for more flexibility in vaccine administration with all essential workers being include in the phase one plan.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov Andrew Cuomo have clashed over how to distribute coronavirus vaccines. Pictured:  De Blasio at a press confrence on Thursday

De Blasio has called for more flexibility and Cuomo has argued that guidelines need to be followed strictly. Pictured: Cuomo at a press conference on Wednesday

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) and New York Gov Andrew Cuomo (right) have clashed over how to distribute coronavirus vaccines with de Blasio calling for more flexibility and Cuomo arguing that guidelines need to be followed strictly  

De Blasio has argued for eliminating fines and including first responders in the city's first vaccination phase. Pictured: Dr Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Nassau County Community College in Long Island, New York, January 5

De Blasio has argued for eliminating fines and including first responders in the city’s first vaccination phase. Pictured: Dr Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Nassau County Community College in Long Island, New York, January 5

On Thursday, for example, the mayor announced a plan to offer coronavirus vaccines to most New York Police Department officers

However, Cuomo has pushed back, insisting hospital staff and everyone in nursing homes be inoculated first. 

‘Police who are not health care workers are not yet eligible,’ the governor said at his own press conference.

‘We need to get the health care population done first because they are the front line, as I mentioned before.’ 

De Blasio has also criticized Cuomo’s implementation of fines. 

‘Give [hospitals] the freedom to vaccinate and they will vaccinate thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions,’ de Blasio said’What they don’t need is to be shamed. What they don’t need is more bureaucracy. What they don’t need is a threat of fines.’

Categories
UAE

‘I got both doses of the vaccine in the UAE. What a relief!’

Samihah Zaman
Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The start of the new year has truly felt like a turning point. After what can only be called an insane 2020, I received the second shot of my COVID-19 vaccine on January 2.

Based on what I’ve read so far, my immune system is still working up to its highest level of protection against COVID-19. Yet, the sense of relief I already feel is precious.

It’s not because I feel that the world has defeated this pandemic-causing virus. We are still donning masks before stepping out, and diligently sanitising groceries brought home. Much of the globe is also fighting hard to overcome the pandemic: I hear from relatives elsewhere about national lockdowns and vaccine access difficulties.

This is why I feel the UAE has given us an early chance at serenity. From the start of the pandemic, I’ve noted the myriad initiatives that have been undertaken – mass screening campaigns, research on a multitude of therapeutic approaches, and the highest levels of care for the affected. Now, vaccines that protect are available to all residents free of charge. 

Even more comforting is the fact that the rest of my family in the UAE has also been vaccinated, including my parents. Certainly, relief would have eluded me if my parents hadn’t received the vaccine. They are older, and by that very token, could suffer more if infected by COVID-19. And although we’ve kept to ourselves as much as possible since the pandemic hit, there really is no telling how the coronavirus can affect you.

So access to these immunisation shots has truly been a blessing.

The vaccination experience itself has also been easy, and has followed much the same set of steps for each of the two doses. At the designated health facility, I had to submit just my Emirates ID. A while later, I was called in by a nurse, who checked my vitals and asked about any allergies and illnesses. After confirming that I had not contracted COVID-19 yet, I was asked to take a pregnancy test: the COVID-19 vaccines in the UAE have not yet been approved for used by pregnant women. A doctor then checked with me to ensure that I was generally healthy, and I was handed a set of consent forms to sign. Before I received the shot, a smiling nurse explained what numbers I could call if I felt any discomfort. A quick pinch in my upper arm for the shot, and that was it.

The consent forms we signed mentioned some minor side effects from the vaccine; I experienced none of them. Instead, having taken my first dose, I only found myself waiting for three weeks to complete the process.

The Al Hosn app on my phone does not yet reflect that I have been vaccinated. The nurse at the facility said it will be 28 days until the letter ‘E’ shows up to confirm that I have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. But I already feel different.

It’s the feeling you get when you give your newborn his first two-month immunisation shots: you know there is still a long way to go for him to grow into a thriving toddler, but you feel safer stepping out of the house with him for a grocery run to a crowded supermarket.

Categories
Headline USA New York

Cuomo won’t get the vaccine until doses reach minorities in NY | The State

According to the governor, between 70 and 90% of New Yorkers need to be vaccinated for immunization to be effective.

Photo:
Flickr NY Governor / NY Governor Office

Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged this Sunday to multiply all necessary actions to accelerate the vaccination process throughout New York State.

“I am committed to racial and social justice in the distribution of this vaccine. Race or income will not determine who lives or who dies, ”Cuomo said in a Prerecorded speech broadcast at the Harlem Abyssinian Baptist Church where he insisted that New Yorkers continue to wear face masks and be vigilant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Cuomo’s reaction is seen as a response to criticism he received over the weekend that New York is not having a vaccination rate commensurate with the severity of the proportion of cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracker, New York has administered vaccines to 723 people per 100,000, a rate of about 14% compared to the rate of Florida, which has so far immunized at a rate of 823 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cuomo promised in his message that he will ensure that the distribution of the vaccine is equitable. Additionally, he said he has no plans to receive the vaccine until it is available to black, Hispanic and poor communities across the state.

“Until the vaccine is available in the South Bronx and the East Side of Buffalo, and Wyandanch, and South Jamaica, and Edgerton and East Utica, our work is not done. We are doing our part, but you have to do yours. We must all have faith and trust in the vaccine, and we must have generosity of soul, ”said Cuomo.

The governor said 70 to 90% of New Yorkers need to get vaccinated to be effective.

“No one is safe unless everyone is safe. The year 2021 promises to be better, but everything will depend on what we do. The new year presents challenges for which we must also live up to ”, highlighted the first state executive.

Cuomo urged residents to be diligent to stop the spread of COVID-19. “I also understand the fatigue caused by the virus like anyone else, but we cannot get tired. If we tire before the enemy, the enemy wins. It’s that simple, ”he stressed.

On the other hand, the governor revealed the figures of the pandemic in the state until this weekend. With 7,963 patient hospitalizations, 1,344 ICU patients; of which 815 are intubated. The statewide positivity rate was 7.98%, while 138 COVID-19 deaths occurred in New York state on Saturday, totaling 30,476 deaths so far from the pandemic.

“One of our most pressing challenges, along with maintaining our diligence to stop the spread of the virus, will be to ensure that the vaccine is available fairly,” Governor Cuomo said. “COVID has exposed many of the injustices that exist in our society, especially that racism is, without a doubt, a public health crisis. The data has continued to show that despite the higher infection and death rates in Black and Latino communities, the tests have remained more widely available in white communities, ”Cuomo said.

The governor added that he refuses to accept that race or income determines who lives and who dies in New York. So, he said, “as we work to break down barriers and ensure access to vaccines for everyone, you will not take the vaccine until it is available to your age group in black, Hispanic and poor communities across the state.”

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Categories
Headlines UK

Israel will RUN OUT of Pfizer vaccine doses

Israel has vaccinated 41 per cent of its over-60s and more than ten per cent of its population as it drives ahead in the global vaccine race despite fears over shortages.

One million Israelis have received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine since the rollout began on December 20 with the milestone jab administered in the city of Umm al-Fahm today. 

The country has now vaccinated 11.56 per cent of its 8.7 million population. It is hooped that high proportion of over-60s who have received the dose could soon start to bring the country’s hospitalisation and death rate down.

The infection fatality rate (IFR)  of coronavirus for under-65s is estimated at 0.5%, dropping to almost 0% for under-44ss. 

But for the over-65s it is 3.1%, rising to 11% for the over-75s. That means that incoulating all of the older generation will make much greater reductions in a country’s hospitalisation and death rates than vaccinating the younger population.  

After two national lockdowns, Israel began its mass vaccination programme with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu becoming the first citizen to get the jab. 

Mr Netanyahu said he aimed to get 2.25 million of the population vaccinated by the end of January amid 426,000 cases and 3,338 deaths since the start of the pandemic. 

It comes as the health minister said the country will pause the drive for three weeks in January over fears that the Pfizer vaccine would run out within 10 days at its current rate as Israel has the highest proportion of its population vaccinated. 

Israel is set to run out of Pfizer/BioNTech doses amid fears that the slow pace of the vaccination programme and supply shortages will sabotage the global recovery

The infection fatality ratio of the 45 to 64 bracket is 0.5 per cent while 65 to 74 is 3.1 per cent and for over-75s it is 11%. The over-60s are at most risk of hospitalisation of the virus which is likely to bring the death rate down in Israel after they announced 41 per cent of over-60s have been vaccinated

The infection fatality ratio of the 45 to 64 bracket is 0.5 per cent while 65 to 74 is 3.1 per cent and for over-75s it is 11%. The over-60s are at most risk of hospitalisation of the virus which is likely to bring the death rate down in Israel after they announced 41 per cent of over-60s have been vaccinated 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in the UK has set out figures which shows that the estimated number of infections of over-65s is 347,121. 

The confirmed number of deaths of over-65s, who are most at risk of hospitalisation from the virus, is 24,993 while 524 deaths are noted for the age bracket of 15 to 44 from February to July 2020. 

The rapid rollout in a country that prides itself on self-reliance comes after Israel’s health minister ordered a 24/7 vaccination drive, hundreds of military medics were drafted in to help with the effort and the country ordered shots from all three of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca in advance.  

However, while vaccinations continue at a rate of more than 100,000 per day, Israel’s health minister has announced first doses will be paused between January 10 and 31 to ensure people who have already received the first dose will get their second jab, according to The Telegraph.  

Meanwhile Israel is expected to launch a so-called ‘green passport’ scheme in January which means people immunised against Covid-19 will avoid having to quarantine if they travel from abroad or come into contact with a virus patient. 

The country had aimed to open the vaccination programme to the public within a week however the pause may push it back by up to six weeks, according to Channel 12 news.  

The US has given out the second most vaccines outright after injecting more than 2.79million people, but president-elect Joe Biden has criticised delays in the rollout

An Israeli military medic prepares to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at a medical centre in Rishion LeZion on Monday

An Israeli military medic prepares to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at a medical centre in Rishion LeZion on Monday 

Chinese firm says its vaccine is 79 per cent effective 

Chinese pharma giant Sinopharm said today that its Covid-19 vaccine was 79 per cent effective in Phase III trials. 

China has already given out over a million vaccines under an emergency use programme, but Sinopharm’s announcement is the first data on the efficacy of a Chinese vaccine. 

But China, where the coronavirus first surfaced last year, has struggled to gain international trust for its vaccine candidates, hindered by a lack of transparency on test results.

It has also been slow to complete Phase III trials, which had to be conducted abroad due to China’s success at curbing the spread of Covid-19 within its own borders. 

But Bahrain and the UAE have both approved Sinopharm vaccines, with Beijing vowing to share its products at a relatively low cost to poorer Asian countries. 

Sinopharm has applied to China’s drug regulator for approval of the vaccine, a statement said. 

China plans to vaccinate millions this winter in the run-up to Lunar New Year, and officials have vowed to ramp up vaccine production capacity to more than one billion doses next year. 

While the 79 per cent figure is lower than the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs, the Sinopharm product does not require the -70C temperatures needed to store the Pfizer jab, a near-impossible logistical challenge in many developing countries. 

It gives China a diplomatic tool after facing widespread criticism led by the US and Australia over its handling of the initial outbreak in Wuhan. 

Chinese health authorities this week said data from antibodies circulating in Wuhan suggests the number of cases in the epicentre of the pandemic may be 10 times higher than previously reported.        

The US has given out the second most vaccines outright after injecting more than 2.79million people, but president-elect Joe Biden has criticised delays in the rollout.  

Britain is third after handing out 944,539 doses in barely two weeks by December 30 – with the UK set to ramp up its vaccine drive after the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. 

Meanwhile Bahrain is using the Sinopharm vaccine developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical giant of the same name, which says the jab is 79 per cent effective. 

Europe started its own programme at the weekend after an EU regulator finally approved the Pfizer jab, with Portugal and Denmark making the fastest progress on the continent so far. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has self-isolated three times after being exposed to Covid carriers, has called for more than two million people to be vaccinated within a month. 

‘This is the critical stage, the first stage, because here is the population at risk, all the medical teams, all of the people over 60,’ he said. 

‘As soon as we are done with this stage, within 30 days we can emerge from the coronavirus, open the economy and do things that no country can do.’  

While only the Pfizer jab has been used so far, Israel also has shipments of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines on order.  

Israel’s justice ministry also announced it had asked Facebook to take down false anti-vaccine content as the government tries to drum up support for the programme.  

Four Hebrew-language groups were removed for publishing texts, photographs and videos with ‘deliberately mendacious content designed to mislead about coronavirus vaccines’.

The fake news included spurious claims that vaccines would be used to plant government tracking chips in recipients’ bodies, poison them or subject them to medical experimentation. 

In Germany 131,626 people had been vaccinated out of a population of 83million by Thursday evening.  

China has struggled to gain trust for its vaccine candidates, hindered by a lack of transparency on test results, but it has been approved in Bahrain and the UAE. 

It has also been slow to complete Phase 3 trials, which had to be conducted abroad due to China’s success at curbing the spread of Covid-19 within its own borders. 

However, 4.5 million people have already been given vaccine doses in China under its emergency use programme.

They include frontline health workers, state-owned enterprise employees and workers planning to travel abroad.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli to get the vaccine on December 19, rolling up his sleeves at a medical centre in Ramat Gan

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli to get the vaccine on December 19, rolling up his sleeves at a medical centre in Ramat Gan

China plans to vaccinate millions more this winter in the run-up to Lunar New Year, and officials have vowed to ramp up capacity to more than one billion doses.  

Beijing has pledged to share its vaccines at a relatively low cost – a potential boost for poorer Asian countries who are otherwise reliant on limited distribution offered by a global scheme.

Third in the global vaccine race is Britain, which approved the Pfizer jab before its EU neighbours or the United States. 

Today the UK became the first to approve the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, which unlike the Pfizer jab can be stored at normal fridge temperatures. 

This means the Oxford vaccine is easier to roll out to places such as care homes and GP surgeries, paving the way for an even larger vaccination programme. 

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme deliveries will be ramped up ‘very rapidly’ in the first and second week of January.

He added: ‘We will start delivering this week – maybe today or tomorrow we will be shipping our first doses.

‘The vaccination will start next week and we will get to one million a week and beyond that very rapidly.

‘We can go to two million. In January we will already possibly be vaccinating several million people and by the end of the first quarter we are going to be in the tens of millions already.’

Bahrain, where a woman is pictured receiving a vaccine in Manama last week, has approved both the Pfizer jab and another shot developed by Chinese firm Sinopharm

Bahrain, where a woman is pictured receiving a vaccine in Manama last week, has approved both the Pfizer jab and another shot developed by Chinese firm Sinopharm 

Asked whether two million vaccinations per week is possible, health secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio: ‘That’s absolutely deliverable by the NHS.’

In the US, the 2.79million people vaccinated so far are well short of a Trump administration target to immunise 20million people before the end of 2020. 

President-elect Joe Biden criticised Trump’s vaccine rollout on Tuesday, warning it would take years at the current rate to deliver the necessary shots.    

‘As I long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should,’ Biden said.

Biden’s goal of ensuring that 100 million shots are administered by the end of his 100th day in office would mean ‘ramping up five to six times the current pace to one million shots a day,’ he added.   

Earlier in the day, Biden’s vice president-elect Kamala Harris received her Moderna vaccine live on television in a bid to boost confidence. 

Biden, 78, received his first dose of the vaccine last week and has vowed to make the pandemic his top priority when he takes office on January 20. 

But Dr Atul Gawande, a member of Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, told CBS News the transition team still did not have all the information it needed to understand the bottlenecks hampering vaccine distribution. 

‘The realistic picture is to expect it could be fall before … enough people are being vaccinated that we’re getting back to normal and that it might be summer before the general public is really accessing the vaccine,’ he said. 

Categories
California Georgia Headline USA New York Politics

Inside the vaccination shambles: Why millions of doses have not been administered

Twenty days into the largest mass vaccination program in U.S. history, questions are mounting about why the rollout is proceeding so slowly, even as the coronavirus pandemic kills Americans at record rates.

As of New Year’s Eve, roughly 12.4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been distributed to states, but only 2.8 million of those doses have actually been administered, according to CDC data.

Both numbers are far below the 20 million doses that Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar vowed to have administered by the end of the year – and woefully behind the 100 million doses that President Donald Trump boasted would be administered by January 1.

Perhaps most pathetically, nationwide just 8 percent of the 2.2 million distributed doses dedicated for residents of long-term care facilities have been administered thus far. 

The failures have been blamed on various factors, including lack of federal oversight, chaos in distribution, ‘woke’ governors setting convoluted priorities for initial distribution, and the simple lack of staff to administer jabs in overstretched healthcare systems.

West Virginia has vaccinated the highest percentage of its population, followed by South Dakota and North Dakota. Kansas lags the farthest behind in population vaccinated

A list shows the percentage of refrigerated shots that have been administered in each state, listed from the most efficient to the least

A list shows the percentage of refrigerated shots that have been administered in each state, listed from the most efficient to the least

Maryland Cremation Services transporter Reggie Elliott brings the remains of a Covid-19 victim to his van from the hospital's morgue in Baltimore, Maryland last week

Maryland Cremation Services transporter Reggie Elliott brings the remains of a Covid-19 victim to his van from the hospital’s morgue in Baltimore, Maryland last week

Across the country, efficiency in distributing the vaccine varies wildly. 

The states that have administered their allotments at the highest rate include South Dakota, Connecticut and Montana – though no state has delivered more than half of the distributed doses into arms yet, according to a Bloomberg analysis of CDC data. 

West Virginia has vaccinated the highest percentage of its population, with 2.18 percent of all state residents having received the first jab so far.

However, even West Virginia could be doing far better, as the state has so far administered only 38 percent of the doses that it has available.

Meanwhile, the worst-performing states for vaccine administration are Kansas, Georgia and Arizona, none of which have administered even 17 percent of the doses that they have received so far. 

New York City, where the virus is again resurgent, has administered just 20 percent of the doses that are now available.

California, now the nation’s new epicenter in the pandemic, has performed scarcely better, with nearly 80 percent of the available vaccine sitting unused. So far, California has administered just 300,696 doses out of the 1,476,425 doses the state has received.

Federal public heath officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Jerome Adams, have blamed poorly funded state and local health offices for the sluggish vaccine rollout.

‘We’ve always underfunded public health going back several decades,’ Adams told Good Morning America on Thursday. 

‘We are on track to have 20 million doses able to be administered, with doses on the ground, by the end of next week,’ he said. ‘We just have to help the state and local entities get those vaccines administered.’

'We've always underfunded public health going back several decades,' Adams told Good Morning America on Thursday

‘We’ve always underfunded public health going back several decades,’ Adams told Good Morning America on Thursday

'We would have liked to see it run smoothly and have 20 million doses into people today,' Fauci told the Today Show on Thursday

‘We would have liked to see it run smoothly and have 20 million doses into people today,’ Fauci told the Today Show on Thursday

Fauci echoed the sentiment, pointing out that the key bottleneck at this point seems to be the ability of hospitals, health departments and pharmacies to actually administer the vaccine once it is received.

‘We would have liked to see it run smoothly and have 20 million doses into people today,’ Fauci told the Today Show on Thursday. ‘Obviously it didn’t happen and that’s disappointing. Hopefully, as you get into January the gaining of momentum will get us to the point where we want to be.’

Asked if the federal government should take over the process of administering vaccines, which is now being managed at the state level, Fauci responded: ‘rather than stepping in and taking over, I think it would be better to work with them and give them more resources.’

The federal government has said that for every dose shipped, it is holding back a second dose in reserve as well as a safety stock, which would bring the total number of vaccine doses closer to 40 million.

That plan has raised criticism, with some calling on the government to release all available doses, and rely on new production to fill the need for the required second doses.

The Pfizer vaccine requires a booster dose after 21 days to be effective, and the Moderna shoot after 28 days. Failing to deliver the required boosters could result in millions of doses effectively being wasted.

This map shows the number of doses that have gone un-administered in each state

This map shows the number of doses that have gone un-administered in each state

On Thursday, Fauci said that spreading out the initial doses of vaccine to more people is ‘under consideration.’ 

‘I still think, if done properly, you can do a single dose, reserve doses for the second dose, and still get the job done,’ he said on the Today Show, ‘but there’s a lot of discussion about whether or not you want to spread out the initial vaccination by getting more people vaccinated on the first round.’ 

Others point out that if states are unable to quickly administer the doses they already have available, flooding distribution channels with another 20 million doses, rather than holding them in reserve for booster shots, would make little difference.

Meanwhile, some have criticized governors for setting convoluted requirements on who receives the initial rounds of vaccines.

States ultimately control distribution, but the CDC recommended that frontline healthcare workers and nursing home resident be prioritized for the initial round.

Following that, the CDC recommended frontline essential workers and those over the age of 75 take priority. 

This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faced criticism for prioritizing drug addicts in rehab over the elderly in the general population.  

During Cuomo’s press briefing on Monday, the governor said that shots would be given to ‘priority populations’ and that when more vaccines become available the populations will be expanded and that residents of ‘OASAS’ — the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports would be next in line to receive the jab.

Cuomo's plan would see drug addicts in rehabilitation centers being administered COVID-19 vaccines ahead of 'elderly populations'

Cuomo’s plan would see drug addicts in rehabilitation centers being administered COVID-19 vaccines ahead of ‘elderly populations’

‘These are congregate facilities. Congregate facilities are problematic. That’s where you have a lot of people in concentration,’ Cuomo said.  

Trump has blamed the states for the slow vaccine rollout, tweeting on Wednesday: ‘The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!’  

Operation Warp Speed chief adviser Dr. Moncef Slaoui admitted the disappointing results, saying in a briefing: ‘We know that it should be better and we are working hard to make it better.’  

Adding to the concerns, millions of the doses that have already been shipped are due to expire next month. Phizer’s vaccine lasts only 30 days in the shipping freezer it is distributed in, which can also be used for on-site storage.

While it is possible to extend the vaccine’s shelf life up to six months with ultra-low-temperature freezers, supplies of the specialized freezers have been severely constrained as hospitals and pharmacies rush to snap up the limited supplies.

Ultimately, the key bottleneck appears to be the number staffers available to administer the jabs. 

Under optimal conditions, a single nurse working a 12-hour shift could administer just 72 doses a day, assuming the nurse took no breaks and gave one shot every 10 minutes, including the time it takes to check for a history of allergies and enter the patient’s information.

To administer a million doses a day nationwide, that would require nearly 14,000 staffers working full time on vaccines — even as many health systems are stretched to the limit handling COVID patients. 

The U.S is lagging behind several other countries in its vaccination efforts, according to a CNN analysis of government data. 

Since December 14, the U.S. has administered an average of 161,820 shots per day, or a daily rate of 49 shots per 100,000 people in the country. 

That is significantly lower than the daily vaccination rates for Israel (608 per 100,000), the United Kingdom (60 per 100,000) and Bahrain (263 per 100,000). 

However, the U.S. is doing better than Canada, where the daily rate is 10 doses per 100,000 people, according to researchers at the University of Toronto.