White Home Says Vaccine Provide Is Growing
As winter storms threatened to accelerate the spread of Covid-19 vaccines, the White House announced Tuesday that states would collectively receive 13.5 million doses a week – a jump from over two million doses, partly due to a change in government is attributable to allocation of doses of the Pfizer vaccine. And White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a new federal pharmacy program will now provide two million weekly doses, doubling its original supply.
The increases were welcome developments for state officials desperate to vaccinate more vulnerable Americans before more contagious variants of the virus dominate.
The Biden government has worked with Pfizer, the maker of a federally approved vaccine, to provide the company with more manufacturing needs, including pumps and filtration units, through the Defense Manufacturing Act. The government announced last week that Pfizer and Moderna, the other US approved vaccine manufacturers, would be able to dispense a total of 400 million doses well ahead of time by the end of May.
The recent surge in supply was partly due to Pfizer crediting six doses instead of five doses per vial starting this week, a White House spokesman said. Two thirds of the lift were due to higher performance, said the spokesman. Officials now say there is an adequate supply of specialty syringes needed to extract the extra dose of Pfizer. The White House warned state officials last week that this accounting change would skyrocket the number of doses the federal government had dispensed, even if the amount of vaccine in each vial itself didn’t increase.
Ms. Psaki told reporters Tuesday that vaccine shipments had increased 57 percent since President Biden’s inauguration. Administrative officials have consistently rated these increases as Mr Biden’s accomplishments, although supply was expected to grow, at least to some extent, as Pfizer and Moderna ramp production.
The announcement on Tuesday came as winter storms in the south continued to disrupt vaccine distribution. In states where the vaccination rate was already below the national average, the clinics were closed and the deliveries stopped. Vaccine appointments have been postponed or canceled from Texas to Kentucky.
Apr 16, 2021 at 8:29 am ET
A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that the government was forecasting “widespread delays” in vaccine shipments and shipments in the coming days as the weather conditions a FedEx facility in Memphis and a UPS facility in Louisville , both vaccine shipments, interfering with hubs.
“CDC and federal partners are working closely with jurisdictions as well as manufacturing and shipping partners to assess weather conditions and reduce potential delivery delays and cancellations,” the spokeswoman said.
Ms. Psaki said officials monitored the storms and were in contact with state and local governments. She said there was “a contingency plan to make sure people get the doses they need when they need it”.
The pharmacy dose increase announced on Tuesday came after White House officials warned that supply of this program would be extremely limited at the outset. More than 40,000 pharmacies are expected to receive doses under the program.
Mr. Biden and leading federal health officials have come up with mixed estimates of when most Americans might be able to get a vaccine. The president announced last week that the federal government had received an additional 200 million doses, bringing the total promised to 600 million, or enough for 300 million Americans. However, he warned that logistical hurdles would most likely mean many Americans won’t be vaccinated by the end of the summer.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and advisor to Mr. Biden, made his own estimate last week when he predicted the start of an “open season” through April. “That period will likely be extended, perhaps to mid to late May and early June,” he said in an interview with CNN.
Campbell Robertson contributed to the coverage.