Only a little over 14 million Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday morning, data reveal.
Already, vaccination centers are over-booked with Americans desperate to get vaccinated. Many are on the verge of running out of doses to give; some are already out. New York and Michigan have each asked the federal government’s permission to order doses directly from manufacturers.
Houston, Texas, officials say they are receiving sporadic shipments of small numbers of vaccine doses.
‘Right now, having (doses) one day and then running out, it just creates a lot of chaos,’ said Galveston County health director Dr Philip Keiser on Monday, according to Houston Public Media.
About 31.1 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been sent to US states by the federal government, according to tracking from Bloomberg.
States have given fewer than half of the doses the federal government has shipped – 46 percent – yet some say they are running out of doses.
Reports emerged last week that there was no federal stockpile of second doses to increase states’ supplies – after HHS Secretary Alex Azar promised that the reserve would be released – triggering panic.
Federal officials say that the number of doses made available to states each week has increased, but that the notion that the government ever had a stockpile was incorrect.
In fact, a senior administration official told DailyMail.com that some states are not completing all their orders for new doses each week, leaving them shorthanded.
Yet states, including Texas, say they’re on pace to run out of doses of vaccine by next week if they continue to administer as many as possible.
Since it began over a month ago, the US coronavirus vaccine rollout has been plagued by a game of federal and state ‘he said, she said,’ and little seems to have changed.
The emergence of more infectious coronavirus variants, including the UK’s ‘super-covid,’ should be a ‘clarion call’ to Americans to get vaccinated, said Dr Anthony Fauci during a Sunday Meet the Press appearance.
But the uptake has been slow.
Experts say yet another factor is holding up the rollout: ‘We’re underselling the vaccine’ Dr Aaron Richterman, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania told the New York Times.
Only about 3% of Americans have gotten their first doses of coronavirus vaccines, with the highest rates in West Virginia and the Dakotas, and the lowest rates of vaccination are in Alabama and Arizona
More than half of all doses of coronavirus vaccines distributed to US states are sitting on the shelves, with the highest rates of unused shots in California and Texas – despite the former being one of the worst hotspots for COVID-19 in the country
He’s not alone in thinking that attempts to temper expectations and keep Americans from ripping of their masks as soon as they get their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines may be misguided.
‘It’s driving me a little bit crazy,’ Dr Ashish Jha of the Brown School of Public told the Times.
Vaccines made by both Moderna and Pfizer are more than 94 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, and that should be the focus of public messaging, the experts say.
That’s not to say that questions still being researched – such as rather the shots prevent infection or transmission altogether – should be concealed, nor that warnings about potential side effects shouldn’t be clear.
But, Dr Jha and Dr Richterman worry that the emphasis on what’s unknown is fueling hesitancy and slowing the uptake of shots.
One California epidemiologist on Sunday called for Moderna to put a hold on 330,000 doses from one lot that have already been distributed after ‘fewer than 10’ people had possible severe allergic reactions to the shots within 24 hours.
Moderna, the FDA and the CDC are all investigating the incidences, but said in a statement to Fox News that vaccination is never without risks.
The reactions all happened within the observation period while the recipients were still at the vaccination site in San Diego.
Health care workers and nursing home residents were put first in line for coronavirus vaccines.
But during the first weeks of the rollout, staggering numbers of health care workers turned down the shots.
One Illinois veterans nursing home said that while about 90 percent of its elderly residents had said ‘yes’ to the shot, some 80 percent of staff had said ‘no.’
Nurses in Texas and California – two of the nation’s worst hotspots for COVID-19 – said they and about half of their colleagues planned to refuse or delay vaccination.
In New York, four doses of vaccine had to be thrown out because willing recipients working in health care could not be found in time to use the shots before they expired.
Amid suspicion that resistance among health care workers and rigid state plans for who could be vaccinated when were the problem, federal officials urged vaccination to be opened up to people 65 and older.
Mass vaccination sites opened in larger states like New York, California and Florida, but rades of shot administration remain low.
California has vaccinated just 3.3 percent of its population and used a little over a third of its allotted doses, despite turning Disneyland and Dodger Stadium into mass vaccination sites.
New York is faring a little better using up 53 percent of its doses and vaccinated about 5.4 percent of its population.
Southern and Sun Belt states are struggling. Alabama and Arizona have each vaccinated just 2.7 percent of their populations.
That’s particularly worrisome for Arizona, which has had more coronavirus infections per capita than any where else in the world.
The surprise leaders in the race remain West Virginia and the Dakotas.
West Virginia was the only state in the union turned down the federal government’s partnership with CVS and WalGreens to help vaccinate its nursing home residents.
And now it’s vaccinated 8.6 percent of its population – more than than any other states.
North and South Dakota have vaccinated nearly seven and 6.45 percent of their respective populations.
A senior federal official told DailyMail.com that the US will meet its goal of distributing 50 million doses to states this week.
But at this rate, it could be weeks before all of those doses make it into Americans’ arms.