California‘s state epidemiologist has said it could take until June to vaccinate all residents aged 65 and over, pushing back the timeline for everyone else to get the shot by at least four months.
Dr. Erica Pan said in a state vaccine advisory committee meeting Wednesday that, with the current rate of supply coming from the federal government, it will be up to five months before Californians in the current priority list are given the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Golden State is currently in Phase 1B Tier 1 of its rollout which includes: healthcare workers, long-term care residents, people aged 65 and older and workers at risk of exposure in education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture.
It receives between 400,000 and 500,000 doses from the government each week.
But there are roughly 6.2 million residents aged 65 and over.
Pan said the state aims to vaccinate 70 percent or 4.34 million people in this age group with two doses – something that will not be possible for four to five months unless the number of doses sent from the government drastically increases.
California’s state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan (above) has said it could take until June to vaccinate all residents aged 65 and over, pushing back the timeline for everyone else to get the shot by at least four months
Pan said she hoped the Biden administration will increase the supply of vaccines to the state so that the dire timescale can be accelerated.
‘We don’t know when that supply will be increasing, but that’s about what we’ve been getting,’ she said.
‘I know we’re estimating anywhere from 20 to 22 weeks for us to actually get through ages 65 and over,’ she said, adding this is based on this group having both doses.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each require two vaccinations for maximum protection from the virus, with the second doses administered 21 and 28 days from the first, respectively.
If a single-dose vaccine is approved, the state’s timeline could change, said Pan.
‘What we all need to get to collectively is as much vaccine in arms as possible,’ Pan said.
Pan warned the perils of it taking this long to vaccinate the high-risk group, citing data that those aged 61 and over make up 65 percent of all ICU admissions and 83 percent of all deaths.
As well as posing a danger to this vulnerable group, the slow rollout will also push back the timescale for those not currently eligible getting their hands on a shot.
It would then be at least four months before anyone in the next phase is vaccinated, she said.
Farm worker Jorge Americano receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in his arm in Mecca, California, Thursday. The Golden State is currently in Phase 1B Tier 1 of its rollout
A mass COVID-19 vaccination site outside The Forum in Inglewood. Pan said in a state vaccine advisory committee meeting Wednesday that, with the current rate of supply coming from the federal government, it will be up to five months before Californians in the current priority list are given the COVID-19 vaccine
Pan also announced Wednesday the state can release a hold it had placed on around 330,000 doses at the weekend after a handful of people suffered allergic reactions in San Diego County.
‘We had further discussions with the County of San Diego Department of Public Health, the FDA, CDC and manufacturer, and found no scientific basis to continue the pause,’ Pan said.
‘Providers that paused vaccine administration from Moderna Lot 41L20A can immediately resume.’
While the health official pushed the blame for the slow vaccine rollout onto the Trump administration’s delays in distributing it, the state has also been slow getting shots in arms when it receives the doses.
Just 36.8 percent of the state’s current supply has been administered to Californians, according to Bloomberg data.
A total of 4.2 million doses have been sent to the state but only 1.5 million have been administered, with a staggering 2.7 million doses sitting unused at a time when 500 people are dying every single day from the virus across the state.
Even with the doses held back at the weekend over the allergic reaction, there is still a stark difference between the numbers available and the numbers administered.
Just 36.8 percent of the state’s current supply has been administered to Californians, according to Bloomberg data
There are vaccine rollout issues on both a federal and state level across the nation
It is not clear what is holding up the rollout on the ground or whether the state is holding back some of its supply for second doses.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s office didn’t return a request for comment from DailyMail.com.
With just 3.88 percent of people vaccinated more than a month on from the day vaccines began nationwide and Pan’s warnings, it seems unlikely the state will achieve its goal to vaccinate most Californians in all 58 counties by summer 2021.
Several individual counties are also reporting similar supply issues to those cited by Pan.
In Los Angeles County, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news conference Wednesday the healthcare system has 200 healthcare providers able to roll out more doses but does not have the supply.
‘Our ability to protect even more LA County residents in the coming weeks and months is entirely dependent and constrained by the amount of vaccine we receive each week, and often, we do not know from one week to the next how many doses will be allocated to LA County,’ she said.
‘We have a lot of potential in the system to really be able to push out lots of vaccines, but we don’t have lots of vaccines to push out.’
The county is in need of more than 4 million doses to provide the two-dose vaccine protocol to the roughly 2 million people who are either healthcare workers or aged 65 and older.
The woeful vaccination program comes as 500 people have died on average every day in California over the last two weeks
More than 20,000 people are hospitalized and only 1,030 ICU beds are available across the state
But she said the county has only received 853,650 doses with another 143,900 doses expected next week.
Once the county rules out the 106,000 second doses from this supply, it will have just 37,900 for first doses, she said.
The woeful vaccination program comes as 500 people have died on average every day in California over the last two weeks.
Another 571 deaths were announced Thursday and 19,673 cases.
This takes the state total to 35,004 deaths and more than 3 million infections.
More than 20,000 people are hospitalized and only 1,030 ICU beds are available across the state.
Nationwide, the US recorded its second deadliest day of the pandemic on Wednesday with 4,229 fatalities after passing the grim milestone of 400,000 deaths this week.
The US vaccination program has failed to take off with issues evident at both national and state levels.
Like California, New York officials have also blamed the supply from the federal government.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Monday he had contacted Pfizer to ask if New York can buy vaccines directly from the drug manufacturer as a way to speed up the vaccination process by sidestepping the US government.
Cuomo said that the federal government has decreased its supply from 300,000 doses a week to 250,000 doses.
This came after the state last week expanded who is eligible to get the vaccine in the current rollout – phase 1B – adding people aged 65 and over and the immunocompromised.
This means 7 million people are currently eligible.
With the current rate of supply, Cuomo said it will take six months for all eligible New Yorkers to get shots.
On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was forced to cancel thousands of appointments because the city has ran out of first doses.
However, the state has only administered just over half – 56.2 percent – of its supply from the federal government.
Around 1.2 million doses have been administered out of around 2.1 million distributed, meaning 900,000 doses are unused in the state.
President Joe Biden has vowed to ramp up the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.
He signed a federal mask mandate within hours of being sworn in Wednesday meaning that masks are now compulsory on all federal property.
His plan will see 100 federal vaccination centers in large venues such as convention centers and stadiums and states reimbursed for setting up their own as well.
Some large cities are already setting up the centers, including in Miami, New York and Los Angeles, but 100 federal sites will spread the idea across the country.
And manufacturers will be ordered under the Defense Production Act to produce vaccine materials, from ingredients to needles, where there are shortages, as well as produce protective equipment such as N95 masks.
Source: Daily Mail |World News