‘I Want To Feel Safe Again’: Americans Lament Slow Pace of US COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Jerry Shapiro, a 78-year-old pharmacist from Los Angeles, is at the top of the list of Californians now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but more than a month after the state began inoculations, he has yet to receive one.

Shapiro said he has spent hours calling multiple health agencies and making fruitless computer searches, an experience familiar to many people across the United States, as the days-old administration of President Joe Biden races to bring the country’s slow, chaotic vaccine rollout up to speed.

“Why not make it easy?” asked Shapiro, who is also concerned about his wife because of medical conditions that would make her particularly vulnerable to the virus. “Have it in your neighborhood. Set up an appointment, get your shot and be done.”

The United States is the nation hardest-hit by COVID-19, with 24.51 million cases and 409,987 deaths by early Friday morning. More than 4,000 Americans died of the disease on Thursday for the second day in a row.

Even so, vaccine rollout, which the administration of former President Donald Trump left to the states to carry out without a federal blueprint or sufficient funding, has proven to be choppy.

From California, where distribution has varied from county to county, to New York where the largest city in the nation is running low on supply, states and healthcare providers have struggled to acquire, store and distribute vaccines.

“We’re burning through our supply,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio posted on Twitter on Friday. “We need more doses IMMEDIATELY so we can protect the most vulnerable residents in our city. We need more doses so we can fight back.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said just 67% of healthcare workers in New York have received a vaccine dose and he warned that if the federal government does not find a way to quickly ramp up production, everyone would suffer.

“The hospital workers are the people who, if they get sick, the hospital capacity will collapse,” Cuomo said at a news conference. “If the hospital capacity collapses, we have to close the economy.”

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said the state’s vaccination program had managed to get 70% of its vaccine supply into people’s arms, but that a federal program within the state to help nursing home residents had distributed only 10% of its supply.

The country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Friday the federal government had put too much of the responsibility for distributing the vaccine on state governments.

“States were doing things that clearly were not the right direction – and that’s unfortunate,” Fauci said on CNN.

Instead, he said, the administration should collaborate with the states to help them plan their rollouts and make sure that vaccines got into people’s arms.

DISTRIBUTION CHALLENGES

Fewer than half of the nearly 38 million vaccine doses shipped to date by the federal government have actually made it into the arms of Americans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday.

Some individual states have lagged behind with just a third or 40% of their vaccine allotments being administered as of Thursday, which marked the one-year anniversary of the first locally transmitted COVID-19 case documented in the United States.

A key problem is organizing the distribution of vaccines to smaller clinics and pharmacies – rather than just to large medical centers and retail pharmaceutical chains.

In California, only a handful of independent pharmacies have been able to acquire vaccines for their customers – generally only in rural areas where the big chain stores are not present, said Sonya Frausto, a pharmacist in the state capital of Sacramento.

Shapiro, who owns an independent pharmacy in downtown Los Angeles, said customers have been calling daily seeking vaccines, but he has to tell them he has no supply.

He and his wife finally made appointments to receive a vaccine on Saturday, after repeated phone calls and hours on hold led them to healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente. The Shapiros are not Kaiser members, but the nonprofit is offering them shots nonetheless, Jerry Shapiro said.

In Sacramento, 65-year-old restaurateur Jami Goldstene would feel a lot safer at her public-facing job if she could get a vaccine. She is technically eligible because of her age, but has yet to be offered an appointment – or even find a way to make one – despite hours on the phone and the internet.

“It’s very frustrating,” she said. “I want to be over with it. I want to feel safe again.”

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Maria Caspani in New York, Lisa Lambert in Washington, Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Tex., and Anurag Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Frank McGurty and Matthew Lewis)

Responses

  1. There is a new double-blind study regarding using an old gout drug to help COVID infected people. It reduced hospitalizations (25%), intubations, and deaths (44%). Don’t get infected and you won’t need this treatment.

    clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04322682

  2. Jerry Shapiro, a 78-year-old pharmacist from Los Angeles, is at the top of the list of Californians now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but more than a month after the state began inoculations, he has yet to receive one….probably because California is controlled by a bunch of morons.

    NH opened the roles to 65 and older online. In one day they had over one hundred thousand sign up. I had to wait only two weeks for the first shot.

    Maybe if Pharmacists themselves weren’t destroying the vaccine.

  3. The former administration ham-strung us – Biden’s admistration now has to start from ground zero!

    1. Are you an idiot??? The previous administration provided all the tools. The clueless Fauci said we would not have a vaccine until spring 2021 at the earliest….Once again that old man is wrong.

      Vaccinations in the U.S. began Dec. 14 with health-care workers, and so far 19.8 million shots have been given, according to a state-by-state tally by Bloomberg and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the last week, an average of 982,739 doses per day were administered.

      Meanwhile you don’t seem bright enough to realize that the states themselves are responsible for the programs. Some states fumbled because of incompetency. Yet now that they have been instructed not to hold back half of the assigned dosages the numbers will increase dramatically.

      In the next several weeks two more vaccines will come online increasing those numbers significantly.

      My state will have the entire state vaccinated by May I signed up and only had a two week wait to get a shot locally. Cases have dropped significantly and the death rate plummeted in the long term health care locations.

      All because of the program put in place by Trump.

      Of course Biden will once again plagiarize someone elses’ work.

      So the guy with all the answers…just admitted he can’t do anything about it???

      Biden says ‘nothing we can do’ to change pandemic ‘trajectory’ in coming months..

      Biden addressed his administration’s response efforts during a press briefing on two executive orders meant to provide food assistance to low-income families and protect workers’ rights during the pandemic. Days after the US surpassed 400,000 deaths related to COVID-19, the president warned the country had little ability in the near term to prevent spiking case totals.

      Spiking?? Cases are dropping dramatically here with long term health care fatalities dropping by half a month after the vaccines were administered.

      1. Poor Robbie. You’re the idiot! Mango Mussolini dug us into such a deep hole, not to mention obstructing Biden’s Covid task force from any information that they should have had BEFORE Biden was president! Mango is responsible for what is happening NOW. And because he’s such a petty little man, there’s no doubt he did it on purpose

      2. “the president warned the country had little ability in the near term to prevent spiking case totals” Robert

        “Spiking?? Cases are dropping dramatically here” Robert

        You do realize that you wrote about two very DIFFERENT tenses, right, Robert? One is in the future, the other is in the present.

        Or are you just confusing yourself, Robert?

    2. LOL You can not be that easily brainwashed. The know it all governors of NY, PA and CA,to mention a few, said we’ve got this! Walk away from CNN.

      1. Fauci said in response to Trump’s claim that we would have a vaccine soon, “one year to 18 months.” If 11 months is your idea of “soon,” then Trump was correct. If you believe 11 months is closer to 12-18 months, then Fauci was correct.

        The IJR poster that believes Antifa is responsible for the Jan 6th insurrection is claiming ANYONE can not be that easily brainwashed?? Are you of the mindset that DJT thought the insurrectionists were Antifa when he tweeted his explanation of their actions and closed it with “Go home in love and in peace. Remember this day forever.”???

        I live in PA and do not recall Wolf saying “We’ve got this” My memory is clear of Trump’s many tweets and interviews claiming Covid was simply “just going to go away.” “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” President Trump on March 10, 2020. Trump on May 5th, 2020: “And I think we’re doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it’s going to pass, and we’re going to be back to normal.” He is gone and the country is not back to normal.

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