The nation’s figures on vaccine distribution have surprised observers for a number of weeks, with states claiming they want extra vaccines when knowledge present they nonetheless have many doses readily available.
Well being officers for President Biden tried to clarify on Wednesday, no less than partially.
In a press launch, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, mentioned not all vaccines delivered to states can be found for “insertion into human arms.”
White Home Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients took that rationalization a step additional.
“A part of what the states have proper now’s a listing to make that very, crucial second shot,” Zients mentioned. “I believe it is necessary that while you have a look at the state inventories that you just understand that a part of this stock is stored for the crucial second shot.”
The Pfizer and Fashionable Covid-19 vaccines presently out there for emergency use in the USA require two doses. A federal dashboard tracks the nation’s distribution of those vaccines. The info present what number of doses of vaccine have been delivered for every situation, however there is no such thing as a distinction between the primary and second doses.
Consider Florida, the place federal knowledge on Wednesday confirmed that about 3.1 million doses had been delivered and about 1.6 million had been administered. It’s about 50% of the doses that go in arms.
On Monday, White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki used comparable figures to counsel that Florida had a whole lot of vaccines, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed that the state didn’t have sufficient entry from the federal authorities and wanted extra.
“I’ll observe, as a result of we’re data-first right here, facts-first, they’ve solely distributed about 50% of the vaccines they’ve acquired in Florida,” Psaki mentioned. “In fact, they’ve a whole lot of the vaccine.”
On Wednesday, DeSantis backed down on these feedback from the White Home, stating that federal knowledge didn’t report vaccines earmarked for different doses.
“When the individual within the White Home says that Florida has all these doses, there are different doses,” DeSantis mentioned.
Different states additionally say that a few of their vaccine tools is meant for different pictures.
“When a primary dose comes, you may simply go forward and provides it to somebody. When a second dose comes, it should be 21 days later for Pfizer or 28 days later for Fashionable,” Kristen Ehresmann, director of Minnesota’s Infectious Illness Epidemiology, Prevention and management division, mentioned in an e-mail to CNN. “So sure, we get this vaccine after which give it on the applicable interval and it might appear like we ‘sit on doses’ when that isn’t the case.”
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has begun expressing the state’s numbers of vaccine distribution by way of first and second doses, saying on Wednesday that 96% of the state’s first doses have been administered, excluding the federal long-term vaccination program with CVS and Walgreens.
On Tuesday, Cuomo mentioned his situation was “principally a vaccine,” however the identical day New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio, who had additionally complained of a vaccine scarcity, mentioned town had doses meant for different pictures in its stock.
“I’ve 100 thousand different doses,” de Blasio informed MSNBC.
De Blasio went on to say that the doses “sat on a shelf” and “cannot be used for a number of weeks.” He mentioned President Biden would order governments throughout the nation to take different doses of their stock and use them proper now for first doses.
“Even a primary dose provides folks about 50% safety,” he mentioned.
Cuomo mentioned on Tuesday that different doses wouldn’t be distributed as first doses because of uncertainty about how shortly further doses of vaccine could possibly be made.
“The concern is, till you actually know what the manufacturing schedule is, for those who begin utilizing the second dose as the primary dose, you need to have a dramatically elevated provide in any other case you’ll go away folks with out a second dose after they expire,” Cuomo mentioned.
It’s unclear what number of states have a listing of different doses, or what number of states can deal with the distribution of different doses in several methods. The White Home and the Division of Well being and Human Providers didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s requests for additional data.
In Maryland, the state doesn’t hold spare doses in its shops apart from doses to be administered that week, in line with Charles Gischlar of the state Division of Well being. Gischalar says Maryland has requested that the federal authorities robotically distribute different doses to suppliers who’ve acquired the primary doses.
CNN’s Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this story.
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