In the summer of 2020, the White House poured the pressure on pharmaceuticals to create a COVID-19 vaccine in order to help curb the spread of the pandemic and help return society to some semblance of normalcy. The economic destruction and life-altering practices implemented as a result of the coronavirus helped to spur a fast turnaround time for the vaccine - it only took a few months before the first batch of two-part vaccines became available.
Currently, 1 million separate vaccinations are being administered to various people all across the country in a single week. And while this may seem like a high number, medical professionals like ER Physician and former Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen has stated that to get to herd immunity by June of 2021, we'd need to bump up the number of vaccinations significantly.
At the current pace, people are immunizing themselves, it'll take ten years to attain herd immunity. Dr. Wen contends that in order to reach herd immunity by this coming summer, 3.5 million Americans will need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine every single day. She divulged the numbers on CNN, and the statistics brought up a serious conversation on the availability of vaccines for folks.
There appears to be a few factors as to why people aren't getting vaccinated as quickly as many healthcare professionals would like. The main reason seems to be the sheer amount of vaccines that are available to the public. The 300 vaccine stockpile projected by January 2021 was cut down to a third of that original number - then that number was cut to 100 million.
Realistically, however, the number of vaccines is much lower than even that figure.
Then there's a sentiment of "distrust" surrounding the vaccine itself and how it was developed so quickly. The CDC has delineated several reasons as to why the vaccine is safe for human use, not to mention the accelerated number of trials packed into a relatively short time frame for the vaccine.
According to Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the issue isn't just the relatively low number of vaccines, but the fact that there's no plan to administer and disseminate them.
As it turns out, that 100 million dose figure was actually much less: 40 million. 20 million were put into circulation with another 20 million put into reserve.
Dr. Ashish says that the "worst part" of the vaccine conundrum is the fact that there really isn't a "plan" in place on how to disseminate the vaccines once they are available.
Dr. Ashish stated that the vaccine roll-out is reminiscent of the COVID-19 testing roll-outs back when the pandemic first hit.
The "responsibility" of who coordinates who gets the vaccines and when doesn't seem clearly delineated by the government on either the Federal or State level. Dr. Ashish states that it appears that the onus squarely falls on the shoulders of front line providers.
He capped off his Twitter thread with the poor job that's being done in the implementation of vaccines along with the fact that there still isn't a clearly delineated plan of how people are going to get said vaccines.
Dr. Ashish has stated that congressional help may assist in painting a better picture for the future of vaccine distribution.