There is no reason why slow release or doses should be left unused; experts say it will never be easy to launch a mass vaccination campaign during a pandemic. It takes time to vaccinate and monitor large numbers of people, and some facilities stun staff vaccinations to avoid too many health workers leaving at once.
Demand and supply are not always in order. Some of the highest priority groups – health workers and residents of long-term care facilities – do not want the vaccine, or at least not yet. At the same time, the American Medical Association said on Friday that it was “concerned” that some health workers who are not employed by hospitals or health systems face difficulties in accessing the vaccine.
To speed up the process, the federal government is urging states to offer the vaccine to people who are older or at risk, but some areas still focus on the earliest priority groups ̵
“Every dose that is in someone’s hands is a person who will not get sick from Covid,” he said. “It’s not helpful to try to normalize it that way, week after week, because every dose that sits in the fridge is a life that isn’t potentially saved.”
Search for people for vaccination
It will begin on Monday, when New York will open to first-aiders, teachers and residents aged 75 and over, in addition to prioritizing health workers.
Disappointment had already increased. On Tuesday night last week, nurses from the Family Health Center in Harlem, New York, traveled the neighborhood trying to find people eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine.
The health center had several additional doses of Moderna vaccine, which were removed from the refrigerator. Doses were to be given to healthcare professionals – but some did not show up for the meetings and the clock was ticking.
“It expires six hours after you take the first dose out of the vial,” Kalman said.
That evening, the nurses “went out into the community and went to two open pharmacies and asked if any of the pharmacists who were there wanted the vaccine,” Kalman said. “They went to a fire station down the street to see if any of the people in the fire department needed a vaccine. … They went to an apartment building.”
By the end of tonight, there were still “three to four” doses left and they had been discarded, Kalman said.
“We need to keep the priority levels – I think it’s very important to have health workers first and be able to attract teachers now and others,” Kalman said. “But in the meantime, the healthcare community must be able to vaccinate our patients at the highest risk and use our professional judgment as to who these people are and to whom we can vaccinate.”
“We expect these issues to be resolved.”
Nationwide, Legacy Health, a nonprofit health system with six hospitals in Oregon and southwestern Washington, confirmed to CNN on Friday that during its early vaccination efforts last month, 27 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine were discarded because they expired before it was time to put them into arms – and some initial data on the vaccine were unclear.
Brian Cargo, a spokesman for Legacy Health, told CNN that hospitals under Legacy Health planned vaccinations based on initial information, provided each vial of vaccine contained five doses. It turns out that some vials contain six or seven doses – and at that time hospitals had additional doses, but no one planned or was available to give them.
“So the 27 expired doses came at the beginning of our vaccination efforts when we had more vaccines than patients,” Teret said. “Having six or seven doses in a vial allowed us to vaccinate almost 700 more people than we were given. For each vaccine that expired, Legacy vaccinated almost 25 more people than we expected.”
As reports emerged across the country of Covid-19 vaccines in some hospitals that remain unused, the American Hospital Association responded in a statement that it expects “these issues to be resolved.”
The association represents and serves American hospitals and health networks.
“U.S. hospitals and health systems are working hard to administer COVID-19 vaccines as quickly and safely as possible, as prescribed in their country’s or local jurisdiction’s micro,” said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of AHA by email to CNN on Friday.
“At the same time, we continue to care for a large number of patients with COVID-19 in very stressful circumstances, including PPE shortages, staff shortages and limited bed capacity in intensive care units in certain areas. Mass vaccination is a huge and complex process. – and not unlike any other effort of this kind – there are always inequalities in every major government venture, especially in the beginning, “said Pollack in part. “We expect these issues to be resolved and the pace of vaccinations will increase dramatically in the coming weeks.”
Slow introduction to long-term care facilities
Vaccinations for residents and long-term care staff are also moving slowly in many places. As of Friday morning, more than 4 million doses had been distributed for use in long-term care facilities, but less than 700,000 eligible people received their first dose.
The federal government has partnered with CVS and Walgreens to facilitate vaccination at participating long-term care facilities.
In a statement issued Wednesday, CVS said the number of residents in need of vaccination was 20-30% lower than initially projected and that “initial absorption among staff is low”, although some may to be due to the stunning vaccinations among the staff.
Walgreens, meanwhile, told CNN that unused doses are being redistributed to the next scheduled clinic in a long-term care facility, and any doses that may expire before that “could be used to vaccinate eligible Walgreens team members.” vaccines as part of a Phase 1a plan outlined by the CDC and States. “
West Virginia is a leader in the United States in per capita doses of vaccines, and long-term care may be part of the reason. West Virginia was the only state to abandon the federal program to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine to staff and residents of long-term care; began vaccinating people at these facilities about a week before the start of the federal program in other states.
More than 40 percent of West Virginia pharmacies are not chain-linked and the state wants to prioritize existing relationships, the governor told a news briefing on December 16th.
“Instead, we partnered with all the pharmacies in West Virginia,” Gov. Jim Justice said in December. “We felt that, from a state point of view, we would limit our ability to quickly spread and administer the vaccine to the needy if we had taken on the federal program.”
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Laura Ly and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.