How many COVID-19 vaccines are there in the US? It’s a mystery.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic was set for this weekend at Ivy Tech in South Bend but was cancelled due to a lack of doses.
However, there may be a bigger issue than just than just cancelling the clinic, there’s a communication breakdown from the top on down as to how many doses actually exist in the US.
“Wednesday night at about 9 o’clock I got a call from Pam Pontones who’s the Deputy Director of the State Department of Health saying ‘well, we’re not doing the clinic at Ivy Tech after all’,” Dr Mark Fox says. He is the Deputy Health Officer with St. Joseph County.
The reason for axing the vaccine clinic? Not enough doses.
“What I don’t know the answer to is did all of those get shut down, or did they divert some doses to enable them to do some pop-up clinics in areas that are less well-served?” Dr. Fox says.
There are plenty of unknowns when it comes to vaccine supply. I asked the Indiana State Department of Health about how many vaccine doses are available and they provided this statement:
“Vaccine allocations are set by the federal government, Indiana requests the maximum vaccine allocated to our state each week.”
So how many doses are there? The answer is no one really seems to know at the federal level or officials just aren’t sharing the information. Dr. Kristina Box spoke with Army General Gustave Perna who is the head of Operation Warp Speed, even she has her doubts.
“He did hint at the fact that we could be, in early February, receiving more vaccine. I hesitate to even say that because I’ve become a bird in the hand woman; if I don’t have it in my hand I don’t believe it,” Dr. Box says. She is the Indiana State Health Commissioner.
The state says they hope to offer mobile clinics soon, but doses are being diverted to existing clinics to try and meet demand there. As the vaccine rollout rolls on, the local health department in St. Joseph County would like to see better communication.
“Obviously knowing how many doses we can depend on or should plan for, I mean, we would happily ramp-up, and plan for, scale-up to offer more if we knew we could plan on that,” Dr. Fox says.
With a new administration in the White House, it is to be seen how the vaccine rollout continues. As for the total supply of vaccines in the country, that remains a bit of a mystery.
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