State leaders worried about maintaining adequate COVID-19 vaccine supply

Coronavirus Vaccine

LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — Even after President Biden’s announcement of his national COVID-19 strategy, vaccination anxiety is still prevalent all over the country, including hard-hit California.

States remain worried about having enough doses for timely second shots along with meeting the demand for those yet to get a first one.

At the world’s largest vaccination site, now operating out of Dodger Stadium, the cars keep coming and demand is high. However, confidence is low among healthcare leaders about maintaining an adequate supply of vaccine to go around.

“We’re not yet sure about our allocations for next week which will need to cover those healthcare workers that need their second doses as well as everybody who’s ready for their first dose,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director, LA County Dept. of Public Health said.

Hope is hinging on the vow by President Biden to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office. 

According to the CDC, only about 17.5 million have been vaccinated as of Thursday with total doses distributed under 38 million.

“Part of the distribution problem relates to the fact that we didn’t have time to set up the sites we needed, we didn’t have time to hire the people and get the training we needed when the vaccines started coming in,” Dr. John Swartzberg, Infectious Disease Expert, UC Berkeley said.

Thursday, the Governor of Utah expressed confidence in the new national strategy, highlighting a current issue with federal partners that are slower to rollout vaccinations than local health departments.

“This is a problem across the country, this isn’t just a Utah problem. Everyone is seeing this problem and working really hard to claw back those doses,” Spencer Cox, Gov. of Utah said. “There’s no reason for those doses to sit on shelves and potentially expire which would be a worse case scenario.”

Despite the supply chain concerns, leaders are encouraging increased demand.

“Vaccinating millions of people in a matter of months will be difficult,” said Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

In a joint video released Thursday, the governors and lieutenant governors of Illinois and six other Midwestern states urged everyone to make a plan to get vaccinated. 

“The vaccine is safe and effective, and it’s the greatest tool we have to defeat COVID 19,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Lt Gov. Suzanne Crouch said. “By making a plan to get vaccinated when the vaccine is available to you, you can help us to return to normal sooner.”

Meantime, other vaccine options are in the pipeline and could be in the mix soon to possibly ease anxiety over supply.

California’s top epidemiologist addressed those options during an online news conference. 

“Have not heard any concrete information really on how much, if and when those are approved, how much supply that will add. One of them is great, the Johnson one is only one dose so that will really help a great deal as far as having this complex issue around the doses,” Dr. Erica Pan, Epidemiologist, California Dept. of Public Health said.

In a statement to NewsNation, Pfizer expressed confidence in producing adequate supply, estimating a total of two billion doses worldwide by the end of this year.

Also, Amazon has offered to help the Biden administration by providing its massive company network for support with vaccine distribution.

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