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Promises vs Deliveries

Vaccine delivery is far short of goals set by the Trump administration. This will be Biden's mission to solve.

Cuomo Asks Pfizer to Sell Vaccines Directly to New York

Due to severe supply shortages New York Governor Cuomo Asks Pfizer to Sell Vaccines Directly to New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he asked Pfizer Inc. if the state could buy vaccines directly from the company because the U.S. government has failed to increase supply.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded eligibility to more than 7 million New Yorkers from 5 million “practically overnight,” Cuomo said Monday in a letter to Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla. At the same time, the CDC hasn’t increased -- and in some cases reduced -- the supply to states. New York will get 250,000 doses this week, 50,000 fewer than last week

At that rate, it would take seven months to inoculate those eligible, Cuomo said during a subsequent press briefing. Pfizer is supplying the federal government with 200 million doses of the vaccine after receiving emergency use authorization. 

No state has ever purchased vaccines directly from the producer, but “my job is to pursue every avenue,” Cuomo said. He declined to say how many doses he was seeking or how he’ll pay for it, telling reporters, “First things first. First they have to agree.” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also is seeking to buy vaccines directly from Pfizer.

Before we can even consider direct sales to state governments, HHS [Health and Human Services] would need to approve that proposal based on the EUA granted to Pfizer by the FDA,” the New York-based company said in a statement.

California Halts Moderna Vaccine Batch

Due to severe allergic reactions California Halts Moderna Vaccine Batch.

After several people had apparent allergic reactions at one California clinic, state health officials on Sunday told providers across the state to pause administering doses from one COVID-19 vaccine lot that arrived from Moderna.

The move, made “out of an extreme abundance of caution,” means that 330,000 doses distributed to 287 providers across the state can’t be used amid an already slow vaccine rollout

“A higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions were reported with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine administered at one community vaccination clinic,” California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said.

Officials said fewer than 10 people needed medical attention over the span of 24 hours, but didn’t clarify what their allergic reactions were.  “All appeared to be experiencing a possible severe allergic reaction during the standard observation period—a type of adverse event that the CDC reports some people have experienced when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine,” state health officials said in a news release.

In a recommendation letter sent to providers Sunday, the state health department said it recognizes the extremely limited supply of vaccine, but added that there were no immediate replacement doses available during the pause.

Slow Start to Vaccinations

The AARP reports National Effort to Vaccinate Nursing Homes Is off to a Slow Start

Unlike the delivery of most COVID vaccines, which the federal government is handing off to individual states, the feds are spearheading vaccinations in nursing homes. Through its Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, the government has contracted with CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies in certain states to supply and administer vaccines at no cost to long-term care residents and staff at their facilities.

"We could have every nursing home patient vaccinated in the United States by Christmas,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in mid-December, describing the program.

CVS is partnering with over 40,000 facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living communities and other types of long-term care settings, to provide vaccines to up to 4 million residents and staff. Walgreens is partnering with roughly 35,000 facilities to provide vaccines to up to 3 million more

But as of Jan. 11, only 937,028 long-term care residents and staff have received first doses of a COVID vaccine through the program, according to the CDC's COVID Data Tracker. While that's likely an undercount due to reporting lags, the federal partnership has clearly fallen far behind initial targets.

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Roughly 1 million out of 7 million received vaccinations by January 11, with HHS stating it would all be done by Christmas.

West Virginia Opts Out

West Virginia, which opted out of the federal program and instead used local pharmacies to administer vaccines, became the first state in the country to complete its first round of long-term care vaccinations on Dec. 30.

It's amazing and it's far ahead of any other state in the nation,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said in a December news conference announcing that first-round vaccinations would be complete in all of the state's 214 long-term care facilities by the new year.

HHS Says Vaccinate More

Six days ago Bloomberg reported U.S. Urges States to Widen Vaccine Access After Slow Start

The Trump administration will encourage states to widen access to Covid-19 vaccines as part of an effort to speed up a stumbling immunization campaign.

Health officials on Tuesday will push states to expand the shots’ availability to anyone 65 and older, regardless of underlying conditions that might put them at greater risk of severe disease, and anyone 65 or younger with such a condition, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Tuesday in an interview with Fox & Friends.

The U.S. also will no longer hold back second doses of the vaccine in order to make more shots available immediately, according to the Surgeon General.

Questions Abound

How do you speed things up when Pfizer reduces delivery and California quarantines 330,000 doses? 

Would you take the Pfizer vaccine? Moderna?

Meanwhile, the slow start to the vaccine rollout just got a slower due to supply reductions and at least one questionable batch.