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As states ramp up their vaccination efforts, some say they’re running out of COVID-19 vaccine, causing the cancellation of thousands of appointments for people expecting their first shot, the Associated Press reported.
As of Wednesday, the CDC said it has shipped about 36 million doses and that 16.5 million doses have been administered. About 2.1 million people have gotten both doses of the vaccine.
Alex Azar, Health and Human Services director in the Trump administration, said last week that states may have had unrealistic expectations about how much vaccine was available.
When he was still president, Donald Trump had predicted 100 million doses of vaccine would be delivered by the end of 2020. Newly sworn-in President Joe Biden said he wanted 100 million people vaccinated in the first 100 days of his administration.
In New York State, The Erie County Health Department had to cancel about 8,000 appointments because of low supplies, the AP said.
Karen Stachowiak, a first-grade teacher in the Buffalo area, was one of the unlucky ones. She said she was turned away after spending five hours on a state hotline to get an appointment for Wednesday.
“It’s stressful because I was so close. And my other friends that are teachers, they were able to book appointments for last Saturday,” Stachowiak said. “So many people are getting theirs in, and then it’s like, ‘Nope, I’ve got to wait.'”
New York may exhaust its stockpile of vaccine in two or three days, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference.
“What’s clear now is we’ll be going from week to week, and you will see a constant pattern of basically running out, waiting for this week’s allocation, and starting up again,” he said, recommending vaccination centers not schedule appointments unless they have vaccine on hand.
In New York City, 23,000 first-dose appointments were rescheduled this week because of dwindling numbers of doses, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The makers of the two vaccines now in use, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, both say large quantities of vaccine are in the pipeline, the AP reported.
West Virginia has done a good job of efficiently vaccinating citizens and has given 99.6% of first doses, the AP reported. But the state didn’t receive an expected increase in doses this week.
“Here we are with no vaccines,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “We’ve got them all in people’s arms, and we’ve done exactly what we should have done. … I think performance ought to be rewarded.”
The News Service of Florida reported that state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, MD, told hospital officials he does not know how many doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were coming or when they would arrive.
In Miami, Baptist Health South Florida announced that all first-dose vaccinations booked for Wednesday had to be canceled because of low supplies, the Miami Herald reported. Second-dose appointments were not affected, as required by the emergency use authorization.
“I could have blown the top of my head off with steam,” said Charlotte Reeve, 76, whose appointment was canceled. “I’m also a fairly recent widow. To me, having to be locked up in my house alone is just devastating to me … I feel like I just got cut off at the knees, again.”
AP. States report vaccine shortages and cancel appointments
Miami Herald. Amid statewide shortage, Baptist Health cancels scheduled first-dose COVID vaccines