The vaccine rollout program has become a messy affair, as many states are not able to use all the vaccine supplies delivered to them by the federal government. The biggest hurdle in this situation is the guidelines of the CDC to first vaccinate frontline health workers. In some regions, there are more doses available than required for the health workers, and the doses are sitting idle in the freezers for many days.
Health experts have criticized such measures and asked the authorities to use all the available supplies to vaccinate as many people as possible. Considering this situation, some states have now planned to deviate from the CDC guidelines and include the common public for the vaccinations. In this way, they can make good use of available supplies in their region.
States Shift Priorities To Include Public For Vaccinations
Even in states that are severely affected by the covid 19 situation, the vaccine administration is going at a slow pace. In states like California and Georgia that are reporting a high number of cases in recent weeks, more than half of the doses are lying idle. Recently, the Governor of California said that they would speed up the vaccination process and ensure that all the available doses are given to the health care workers in the next few days.
It is high time the states realize that the guidelines of CDC are based on several factors, and it may not be suitable in every situation. In this regard, states must decide whom to vaccinate at the earliest in order to bring down the hospitalizations in their region. Even the federal authorities have mentioned that states can make suitable changes to the vaccination program depending on the situation.
Georgia has now moved to vaccinating other vulnerable populations and included elderly people in the vaccination program. California and other states are also expected to make suitable changes to their vaccination plans in the next few days. One thing that is common among the shift in vaccination plan is the inclusion of the elderly population in the first phase of the vaccination program.
There are several advantages of including people above 65 in the first phase of vaccination. In this way, the states will be able to reduce the number of hospitalizations in the near future. If elderly people get infected with covid 19, they are more likely to need ICU beds, and there is a severe shortage of such beds across the country at this moment. Considering this situation, it makes sense to vaccinate them at the earliest as they belong to the most vulnerable group.
South Carolina is taking an interesting step in this regard and set a deadline of January 15 for the Phase 1a vaccination program. If the health care workers do not sign up for getting vaccinated by this date, they will be moved back in the line so that other people who are willing to get vaccinated can receive the doses.
Some states want to expand slowly as the demand can rise quickly, whereas supply concerns still remain across the country. When people who have already registered do not get vaccines for a long duration due to shortage of supply, it can cause frustration. For this reason, some states are still waiting for supplies to stabilize in the near future.
North Carolina has already started giving appointments to the general public in the first phase of the vaccine rollout program. When there are enough doses available in any area, such changes in priority can be made at the regional level so that more people can get vaccinated in a short duration of time. Health experts hope that things will get on track in the next few weeks.