Based on the CDC, the Biden administration is looking for out what’s delaying vaccination with Covid vaccines
Courtney Senechal, RN, prepares to administer the second Moderna vaccine for Covid-19 on January 19, 2021 at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center in Boston.
Jonathan Wiggs | Boston Globe | Getty Images
The Biden government is trying to figure out exactly what is holding up the national rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and looking for hiccups in the manufacturing process, suppliers and distribution networks, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
President Joe Biden has vowed to give 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, forcing the US to slightly speed up current vaccination rates. However, some large states are telling the federal government that they are able to vaccinate even more people but are not receiving enough doses.
Walensky said the government is looking at what could restrict the supply of cans and is ready to apply the Defense Production Act, a warfare measure that will force US companies to make supplies that are vital to national security to boost production.
“We are working closely with General Perna, the manufacturers and the states to understand exactly where the offer is,” Walensky said on Thursday on the “Today” show. General Gustave Perna was tasked with overseeing the logistics for President Donald Trump’s vaccination program, Operation Warp Speed.
“The president has a plan to apply the Defense Production Act to see exactly what resources we need, either for vaccine manufacture or vaccine distribution or vaccine delivery. Do we need or do we need syringes?” do we need chemical products? “Walensky added.” We are working on answering these questions. We’ll be in the driver’s seat on the second day. “
In Biden’s Covid-19 Response Plan released Thursday, his government said it would instruct authorities to contact the Data Protection Authority if necessary to ensure supplies were in place for the pandemic response. This could include protective equipment such as masks as well as consumables needed for Covid-19 testing and for administering and manufacturing vaccines such as certain chemicals and syringes.
The Trump administration invoked the bill last year to get U.S. manufacturers to make ventilators and other consumables, but was reluctant to use the martial law to procure consumables for vaccine makers like Pfizer.
Even as the administration scrutinizes the supply chain to see if it can promote the production, distribution, and management of recordings, Walensky still believes that some recordings are going unused. Nearly 36 million doses had been given to states as of Wednesday, according to the CDC, but only about 16.5 million had actually been given.
Walensky said the government intends to open more vaccination centers in stadiums and gyms, as well as mobile vaccination units, to get those doses in their arms. She said the government is working with states to adjust licensing requirements for the vaccine to match demand with supply.
The government is trying to get more people like dentists and veterinarians to give the vaccine, she said.
However, many of the doses that appear not to have been used are only due to delays in local data reporting and do not reflect reality, said Dr. Marcus Plescia, Chief Medical Officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
He said some cans may not have been used because they are specifically for federal programs like partnering with retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens that are not yet fully operational. But, he said, most states, counties, and hospitals are quick to manage the admissions they get and actually need more care from the federal government.
When asked about the long-term vaccination schedule, Walensky said the government was sticking to its goal of 100 million doses in the first 100 days, but acknowledged that “after 100 days, many Americans still need vaccines”.
She noted that the Food and Drug Administration is expected to receive data from Johnson & Johnson soon on the safety and effectiveness of their Covid-19 vaccine. Public health officials have high hopes for this vaccine as it is a one-shot program that simplifies the process of dissemination for the public. The shot has been shown to be safe in early clinical trials and appears to produce a promising antibody response, but data from the Phase 3 study has not yet been published.