The delicate balance of supply and demand for COVID-19 vaccines
| January 26, 2021
President Joe Biden rolled out strategies to combat and control the coronavirus pandemic on his first day in the Oval Office. His plans include ramping up vaccination supplies. A national vaccination campaign aims to administer 100 million shots to cover 50 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.
Led by Dr. Anthony Fauci and other medical experts, pandemic control actions will ramp up, such as travel restrictions, mandatory mask rules, increased testing, and more personal protective equipment. Along with orders to boost supplies for vaccination, the team will also focus on developing therapeutics to treat COVID-19.
The states’ dilemma
Governors and mayors in almost every state have complained about the vaccine shortage and how they are unable to meet current demand. The Biden administration admitted that the supply of physical vaccines is low, and they will explore all methods and strategies to boost the nation’s dwindling supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
While the new administration plans to combat the pandemic, states are struggling to balance the supply and demand for the COVID-19 vaccine. They know that the new administration is focused on releasing more doses, but they also know it won’t happen in a day. They are urging Americans to be patient as states start to make vaccination available to more people and maintain COVID rules in the meantime. Public health experts and state officials say that the available supply of COVID-19 vaccines to catch up to the demand will take time.
What states are doing:
Mississippi ran out of vaccine appointments after altering its distribution plan, and demand rose significantly. Arkansas will expand vaccination to include people 70 and older, teachers, and daycare workers. At this point, adults younger than 65 with health conditions are not included in the list, but that may change.
In New Jersey, individuals between ages 16 to 64 with medical conditions have been included in the list and are eligible for the vaccine. While there is a significant imbalance between supply and demand in the state, officials hope that it will be tackled in the next few weeks.
Under the Trump administration, doses were held back, and it will take time to catch up with demand as the list of people eligible for the vaccines continue to expand. Some CDC experts voiced concerns over this since many states were already expanding the groups of people vaccinated. They questioned why the government deviated from the stages that were previously discussed.
Priority groups are front-line workers and others vulnerable to the virus. The next in line are older Americans and those with medical conditions, even younger adults. However, authorities and medical professionals need a significant number of vaccines to keep up with demand. States have to figure out whether to open up vaccinations through clinics and pharmacies via appointments or spread the limited supplies of vaccine across many providers. For the time being, they are looking to the new administration for guidance while hanging in there.
The new variant
COVID-19 has claimed more than 2.1 million lives worldwide. The CDC has warned that the new variant could lead to skyrocketing infections. Initial rollouts in many countries have been met with confusion and logistical problems. Unequal distribution, shortages of doses, and typical bureaucratic hurdles have slowed the process.
Israel’s vaccination process has been the fastest, with roughly 25 percent of its 9 million population getting vaccinations in a month.
The World Health Organization said this week that the variant had been detected in 22 European nations and are now strains in other countries. Governments worldwide, especially in Europe, have tightened restrictions regarding the threat.
Help from all quarters
Amazon has offered to help the Biden administration and hasten the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The tech giant lauded the new president’s when he prioritized vaccine distribution and said that they are ready to leverage their sophisticated distribution and shipping operations to help in this effort. Their expert IT, operations, and communications capabilities could significantly impact the new administration’s vaccination efforts.
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