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Epidemiologist On U.S. Running Out Of COVID-19 Vaccine Reserves

Barely a month after COVID-19 vaccines began to receive approval in the U.S., reserve supplies are exhausted, and the nation is not prepared to continue a sufficient vaccination program.

US out of COVID vaccine
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Citing a Wastington Post article that can be read in full here, epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding shared his concerns about this means for America and for public health.

Feigl-Ding had warned, back in December, that the Trump Administration’s decision not to purchase additional vaccines at that time could result in struggles for the U.S. down the line.

Sure enough, only weeks later, reports are that, even as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that reserve supplies would be released, those purported reserves didn’t exist — rhe administration had begun shipping them out in December.

Feigl-Ding and other experts had already shifted to suggesting that inoculating as many people as possible with a first dose of the vaccine, rather than focusing on getting half as many people fully vaccinated, might be a better idea — “Better to have 100 million people who are 80% protected than 50 million people who are 95% protected,” as UCSF Dept of Medicine Chair Bob Wachter explained.

Even then, at the end of December, Feigl-Ding and others were warning that the vaccination rate wasn’t sufficient to get the pandemic under control.

President-Elect Joe Biden had laid out plans for speeding up the process when his administration takes over, but the false implications that the U.S. had more reserve supplies than were really available could still be a stumbling block as the new administration works out how to get as many Americans safely vaccinated as possible.



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