More people need to get vaccinated against COVID-19 faster, USA TODAY’s panel of vaccine experts agree, and while President Joe Biden’s administration is making strides, concern remains the pace isn’t increasing quickly enough. In email and phone conversations, several members of a panel USA TODAY convenes every month to discuss vaccination progress said the rate of vaccinations needs to double over the next month, from nearly 1.5 million shots a day today to close to 3 million. At the current rate of vaccination, trees would be losing their leaves this fall by the time most American adults could be vaccinated. The Biden administration pledged this week there would be enough vaccine available for 300 million Americans – 90% of the U. S. population – by the end of July. It’s not clear, however, when or whether it would be feasible to vaccinate 2 to 3 million people per day, as our panelists recommended. Doubling the pace of shots would require some logistical fancy footwork: arranging for vaccinators and sites, providing reservation systems both by phone and online, and programs to help people overcome vaccine hesitancy, among other things, said Vivian Riefberg, a professor of practice at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and a senior adviser with McKinsey & Co. Arti Rai, a health law expert at Duke University Law School, isn’t convinced that the supply will be available for such a ramp-up. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are made by encapsulating mRNA instructions inside a ball of fat. The process of making them is complicated, Rai noted, and can’t be scaled up on a dime.”It’s not clear that any legal interventions by the Biden administration can speed up that process,” she said. “But the wise decision made early on to ‘go big’ on public funding for production should incentivize firms to rapidly transfer even ‘crown jewel’ knowledge to the fullest extent possible.”And the process is going much more smoothly than it was a month ago when 75% of vaccines delivered to states were sitting on shelves. Tracking COVID-19 vaccine distribution by state: How many people have been vaccinated in the US? Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said he is now more upbeat than ever about the rollout because his “older neighbors have been vaccinated” already. Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, and editor-in-chief of the journal Vaccine, agreed. Two safe, effective vaccines have been administered to nearly 40 million Americans and a third vaccine, by Johnson & Johnson, is expected to join them within a few weeks, he noted. The J&J vaccine might be a little less protective, Poland conceded, but the fact that it only requires one dose makes it the “perfect vaccine for a younger person, the perfect vaccine for a traveler, or someone who’s heard about side effects” and is concerned. One shot would mean less chance for side effects.
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Article Link: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/health/2021/02/18/covid-19-vaccine-delivery-speed-up-for-worry-free-july/6754716002/
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