COVID-19 vaccine in high demand across US, but supply limited

Across the country, states are expanding vaccination criteria and opening mass COVID-19 vaccination sites to an eager population. But, as the New York Times reports, few states claim they have enough vaccine supply to meet demand.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows that 70,057,800 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 52,884,356 have been administered. That translates to roughly 12% of the US population having had at least the first dose in a two-dose series of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

States quickly using allocated vaccines

On average, 1.7 million Americans are getting vaccinated each day, and the federal government is sending 11 million doses to the states each week. Though this is a substantial increase since vaccines first became available in December, most governors say they go through allotted supply quickly.

Yesterday New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state had used 90% of all available vaccine, after opening up vaccination criteria to include those with chronic illnesses, including obesity or hypertension.

In California, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti closed a mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium after supply ran out this weekend. Garcetti said said the city received just 16,000 doses last week—which could be used in a single day.

Today Garcetti tweeted that the city will have 58,000 doses available this week, but most would be going to planned second doses, not first doses.

San Francisco also had to temporarily shut down one of its high-volume vaccination centers over the weekend because of a lack of vaccines, for at least 1 week as it waits for more vaccine supply. Health officials in that city said they are prepared to administer 10,000 doses per day, the amount they receive in a week.

Today Cuomo, head of the National Governors Association (NGA), called for increased clarity from the Biden administration concerning vaccine allotment and distribution. In addition, the NGA is asking the federal government to allow states to control allocated doses to pharmacies.

"We need coordination between the federal government and the state government so we know what pharmacies they're sending to," Cuomo said today during a press conference.

"We don't send to the same ones, local government doesn't send to the same pharmacies, because some pharmacies do a better job than others. Some pharmacies are already getting a distribution. If the federal government is sending to CVS, I don't send to CVS."

Cases drop but deaths remain high

The demand for vaccine occurs as the 7-day average of daily new cases is now 90,416—down from a peak of about 250,000 in early January, according to Johns Hopkins University. The drop is a welcome signs that post-holiday surges are on the decline.

The United States reported 64,938 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and new 1,088 deaths, and there are 67,023 COVID-19 patients in US hospitals, according to the COVID Tracking Project. In total, the nation has tracked 27,676,502 cases, including 486,106 deaths.

The CDC variant tracker, which is updated three times per week, now shows 1,173 cases of variant B117 (including 192 new cases) have been reported in 40 states. Seventeen B1351 cases, including four new ones, have been reported in 8 states, and three P1 cases have been reported in 2 states.

Yesterday CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said on "Face the Nation" that mitigation strategies, including mask wearing and distancing are even more important as variants become more prevalent. She cautioned governors that now is not the time to lift mitigation strategies, including mask ordinances and limiting social gatherings.

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