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I have tried not to be too negative about the United States’ COVID-19 vaccine rollout process because we’re doing better than most countries around the world, and we’re doing better than we were doing a couple of weeks ago. The Bloomberg vaccine tracker for the first time registered over 1 million newly administered doses in a single day: jumping from 8 million as of January 10 to 9.3 million on January 11.
It’s possible some of the leap is lagged reporting of doses administered over the weekend, but the trend over the last week is clear. About twice as many vaccine doses were administered in the seven-day period ending January 11 as in the seven-day period ending January 4. As states loosen restrictions on who can get the vaccine and opening more vaccine distribution sites, that pace should continue to accelerate toward the trend that will be necessary to achieve widespread distribution by the end of the second quarter.
Things are getting better, but issues remain
People have good reason to be frustrated that so many vaccine doses are sitting in freezers at hospitals instead of being injected into people, and are reasonably infuriated by stories about medical providers throwing vaccine doses in the trash because they can’t find the right people to administer vaccines to after they are thawed and before they expire.
I personally was exasperated to watch the city where I live, New York, ask the state for permission to start vaccinating people 75 and older so it could better make use of the vaccines that have been sent here, and initially be told “no” by state officials.
Fortunately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reversed himself and has allowed counties in New York to proceed this week to vaccination Phase 1b, which includes vaccinating people 75 and older and a significantly broader range of essential workers than were eligible for the first phase of vaccination. On Tuesday morning, he announced a further relaxation, opening vaccination to people 65 and older. Newly eligible people can book appointments online (albeit with some technical hiccups that must be addressed) and vaccinators should be having a much easier time finding people to give the vaccine to.
The move to Phase 1b actually puts New York ahead of most states in the vaccination process, and as non-New York based reporters periodically remind me on Twitter, for all the complaining about Cuomo, New York state has administered vaccines faster than the national average and faster than California, Florida or Texas.
That’s true, but I’d say a couple of things about why I expect better. First of all, New York has a world-leading medical and public health apparatus, and we pay a damn fortune in taxes to finance it. I expect superior state capacity here — it’s not good enough to do better than Texas.
Second, we can see examples right nearby of states that are vaccinating faster, including Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. Connecticut has taken a more flexible approach, both certifying more …read more
Source:: Business Insider