New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made no secret that he believes the COVID-19 vaccine is the solution to a pandemic that seems to have no end in sight. However, even Cuomo admits the rollout of the vaccine has been slow and unnecessarily complicated. The bottom line is the viral spread of coronavirus is continuing although our top scientists have developed an effective vaccine.
The Push for Vaccinations
Governor Cuomo is pushing to hasten the vaccination of the public. As of this past Monday, hospitals within New York State have used less than half of vaccines that have been allocated. Approximately 750,000 doses were distributed, yet the CDC reports merely 300,000 of those doses were administered. According to Governor Cuomo, hospitals are providing vaccines in accordance with the federal government guidelines. However, he also made it clear that some public officials and hospital managers are dropping the ball.
Cuomo pointed the finger at public hospitals’ mismanagement during the pandemic. The vaccine is not being transported quickly enough to vaccinate the public as the death toll continues to climb. The New York State Department of Health transmitted a letter to hospitals stating if they fail to use their allocated vaccine doses by week’s end, they will be fined and may not receive additional allocations.
As an example, Cuomo established new rules earlier last week, requiring providers to use the entirety of their vaccine inventory that week or be hit with a $100,000 fine. Providers are required to use all vaccine doses within a week’s time of receipt as time progresses. Failure to do so will lead to disqualification from eligibility for additional distributions of the vaccine. In short, politicians like Governor Cuomo are not hesitating to give preference to hospitals that can administer the vaccine quickly and efficiently.
The Quest to Accelerate Vaccinations
Aside from setting forth the timetable for hospitals to administer vaccines, New York state is also supplementing pharmacies along with hospitals. The state will provide public facilities to help with distribution, drive-thru’s to administer the vaccine to the public, and additional personnel to expedite the vaccination effort. This expansion of personnel includes recruiting doctors, nurses and pharmacists who were previously retired.
Change is the Sole Constant During the Pandemic
The rollout of the vaccines has been quite dynamic. Public officials are pivoting from their original plan in order to vaccinate as many Americans as quickly as possible. As an example, the top adviser of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, recently stated the FDA is now considering providing half a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to those between the ages of 18 and 55. The logic in pivoting in such a manner is to ensure the vaccine is provided to as many people as quickly as possible. If the vaccine dosage were cut in half, it would be provided to two times as many people within the age cohort referenced above.
Stay tuned. It is quite possible we are at the beginning of a series of important changes regarding the administration of the coronavirus vaccine. Time will tell if the changes implemented to the vaccine effort prove successful or shortsighted.