Our finish line is herd immunity – approached ethically through vaccination (the only approach that is viable and ethical). I’ve written pretty extensively on this already with my thoughts on the Great Barrington Declaration (the open-everything-up and let-it-rip approach) and the John Snow Memorandum. Go look in the Table O’Contents for those posts. We need at least 80% to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. With the rates as high as they are in the US, we need to do this as quickly as possible.
✅ PICTURES 1 and 2 – Our current vaccine roll-out: The good news: So far, 9.3 million people have received at least one dose and 530,000 have received both doses. The wonky news: 27.7 million doses have been distributed. This is well below the 2020 goal of vaccinating 20 million before the end of the year.
✅ PICTURES 3 AND 4 – How is your state doing? Although most states have adopted CDC guidelines on who should be prioritized with the vaccines, it’s a bit disjointed state-by-state. Are you confused at where you can get your vaccine, who can get it, what today is? Me too. =) Some states prioritize those over 75, some over 65. Some allow people from other states to come in (like in Florida), while others have not received many doses. So, it’s a bit of a mess. -If you want to see what your state is doing in terms of distribution, go here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/covid-vaccine-states-distribution-doses/
✅ PICTURE 5 – I gave the example of Texas. Texas has administered 911,461 first doses which covers 49% of the prioritized population. However, Texas has been ALLOCATED 1.8 million first doses, enough to vaccinate 99% of the prioritized population.
✅ Take home message? We need to get vaccines out to more people. 3,000-4,000 people are dying daily and over 250,000 are being diagnosed daily with COVID-19. That’s just a huge number and warrants an all-hands-on-deck approach to getting vaccines out. Yes, there are people refusing/declining to get vaccinated for various reasons. But, there are lots of you who would get it today if you could.
✅ That brings me to President-Elect Biden’s plan of releasing all available vaccines to get more people vaccinated with the first dose. For both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, you need to wait 21-28 days to receive the second dose. We know we need the second dose to achieve the 95% efficacy rate. If you only receive the first dose, you are partially protected – with a virus like COVID-19, we really need to get to the full protection with both doses. The idea of releasing all doses right away is that production can be ramped up to meet the need for the 2nd doses when that time comes. But, the key is do get people partially protected right now.
I expect the plan to include holding back some doses (but not 50% like the Trump plan) and also include mass vaccination campaigns in community health centers to vulnerable populations, in big-box stores (that’s already happening in states like my home-state of NM), and improved distribution pipelines with drive-through vaccinations, etc. These mass vaccination campaigns and logistical plans are not rocket science and have been done before (some of you remember the smallpox campaigns). So, it’s hard to figure out right now what is going wrong. We’ll get there! President-Elect Biden and his COVID-19 team are expected to release their final plans this week. I’ll keep you posted. I’ve often called this team the Pandemic-Avengers and will continue to do so. =) I expect the bungled vaccine distribution pipeline problems to be worked out soon.
SOURCES: Pictures 1-5 – https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/covid-vaccine-states-distribution-doses/ Biden’s COVID-19 plan: https://buildbackbetter.gov/press-releases/president-elect-biden-and-vice-president-elect-harris-announce-members-of-the-covid-19-response-team/