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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Racing to inoculate, U.S. faces vaccine supply gap

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Racing to inoculate, U.S. faces vaccine supply gap
Racing to inoculate, U.S. faces vaccine supply gap

Scattered vaccine shortages cropped up on the front lines of the U.S. battle against the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, prompting at least one large healthcare system to cancel a slew of appointments of people hoping to be inoculated.

This report produced by Emma Jehle.

Scattered vaccine shortages cropped up on the front lines of the U.S. battle against the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, prompting at least one large healthcare system to cancel a slew of appointments of people hoping to be inoculated.

The supply-chain blips arose as the country struggles to speed up the pace of vaccinations, which totaled 12.3 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In New York, the country's most populous city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city has vaccinated about 300,000 of its more than 8 million residents, but was on course to run dry next week because it was burning through vaccines faster than they were being replenished...telling WNYC radio, "If there's no supply, we're going to have to freeze the appointment system." A Mount Sinai Hospital spokeswoman said "sudden changes in vaccine supply" forced it to cancel appointments through next Tuesday.

CUOMO: “Get needles into the arms.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blamed the supply gaps on the federal government, which he said had cut supplies this week to 250,000 doses from 300,000, while expanding the eligibility to include 7 million of the state's 19 million residents.

CUOMO: “They had already sent out everything they had, so there was no increase in supply, in the mean time there was a dramatic increase in eligibility.” Though Cuomo disputed de Blasio's prediction that the city would run out of doses.

In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown said a federal official told her the state would not receive additional vaccine supplies because the federal government has none in reserve.

Brown wrote on Twitter: "I am demanding answers from the Trump administration.

I am shocked and appalled that they have set an expectation on which they could not deliver, with such grave consequences." Brown's comments followed a report in The Washington Post that the federal government has no remaining reserve of the two approved vaccines.

Citing unidentified officials, the Post said the reserve, which the government said was initially set aside for the second doses that each vaccine requires, had already been distributed starting in late December.

President-elect Joe Biden said his administration would seek to vaccinate all people over 65 and frontline workers, as Biden aims to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccines during his first 100 days in office.

BIDEN: "The Trump administration's policy of holding back close to half the supply of vaccines available did not make sense.

Our administration will release the vast majority of the vaccines when they're available so more people could get vaccinated quickly while still maintaining a small reserve for any unseen shortage or delays."

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