Amid reports that the outgoing administration of former President Donald Trump has not left a national vaccination plan for incoming President Joe Biden, cities in New York, Mississippi and South Carolina are canceling scheduled vaccination meetings due to lack of available doses.
“There is no plan, or no plan, from the Trump administration to spread how to actually talk to the public about these vaccines and educate them. [people] about why they are so important to your health, “Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota who is a member of Biden’s Crown Advisory Board, told WBUR.
“What we inherit from the Trump administration is much worse than we could have imagined,”
On Thursday, Biden unveiled his national coronavirus strategy, which included his already advertised goal of taking 100 million vaccination photos during his first 100 days in office – in other words, by April 30th.
But while Biden signed an executive order Thursday, citing the Defense Manufacturing Act to increase vaccine production and another order urging states to set up more vaccine centers in public places such as stadiums, convention centers and pharmacies, health experts say that there is a shortage of available doses, which can take months to fix, as well as an incorrect distribution of available doses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that while about 38 million doses have been distributed, according to Politico, only about half have been administered, leaving a gap of about 19 million unused doses.
During a briefing at the COVID working group at the White House, Infectious Diseases Expert and Coronavirus Advisory Board Dr Anthony Fauci said: “This is something we really need to look at closely,” adding: “What would be most troubling is the vaccine laying around. “
According to the Trump administration, states have not been informed by the federal government about how many doses to expect and when, leaving them to plan in an atmosphere of uncertainty, according to Politico.
Working under this uncertainty, cities across states across the country are canceling vaccination appointments due to lack of doses.
Baptist Health South Florida has had to cancel some of its 12,000 vaccinations, according to NBC News, and officials in San Francisco, New York and New Jersey have also said they are running out.
In New York, 26,300 such meetings were canceled, Bloomberg News and WGRZ reported.
On Jan. 15, Beaufort Memorial Hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina, canceled 6,000 scheduled appointments, citing a lack of available doses. Although the hospital had ordered more than 2,000 vaccines earlier this month, they received only 450 vaccines.
On January 14, the Mississippi Department of Health said it would not be able to vaccinate all eligible people until it received a new shipment of doses in mid-February.
The MSDH announcement came a day after Republican Gov. Tate Reeves told residents to sign up for vaccinations amid rising new cases of COVID-19. His instructions make it difficult for the website and the state’s vaccination planning hotline.
“The Mississippi State Department of Health hopes to receive a large shipment of vaccine in mid-February, which should help with additional shots in people’s hands,” the MSDH statement said. “We understand the frustration caused by this sudden change of plans.”
Newsweek contacted the White House for comment.