General Question

crazyguy's avatar

Why is there such a large difference between vaccine doses sent to states and those actually administered?

Asked by crazyguy (1966points) 2 weeks ago

As of 9 am ET on Jan 2, over 13 million doses were distributed to states, but only 4.2 million were administered. See

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations
Why do we have such a large difference and do you think this difference will be reduced with time?

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58 Answers

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JLeslie's avatar

In Florida it’s taking time to vaccinate people. Not enough vaccination locations, long lines.

I do think it will get better, but I think not for several weeks. The way I understand it, right now the drug stores are helping vaccinate long term care facilities. That will be finished in a few weeks and then the pharmacies can maybe start vaccinating the general public. I’m taking a leap in logic, I don’t know this to be a fact.

There will be a huge snag in the process if they are not planning to expand vaccination sites before second doses come due. Right now everyone getting first doses will have to go back for their second, which means in less than a month’s time zero first doses will be able to be given if there are not more locations and more personnel to give the shots.

My community/city crosses three counties. Each county is doing it differently. One of the counties has not even started vaccinating the general public. One, is having residents fill an online registration form. The last one started with doing call-in appointments, but it was deemed a failure with the phone lines jammed and still long lines, and they are switching to first come first serve this week. It’s a mess.

I remember when the H1N1 vaccine first cane out, some places had long lines with people who were hysterical. People need to be patient, but also the local governments need to come up with a better plan. Hopefully, the states that are doing well share how they are doing it with other states. Supposedly, Israel is doing a really good job, they could look at their process too.

YARNLADY's avatar

A very exasperating issue. Not enough people trained to handle it, and no actual way to handle the millions of people involved.

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stanleybmanly's avatar

No point elaborating on the top answer here, other than to say that every forecast I ever posted here regarding this disease has been realized. It isn’t bragging. I mean honest to God, what safer prediction can you make than “Trump will fk up.” And if you believe that view arrogant or elitist, then consider what you would predict would come of this disease if outcomes relied on the behavior of people stupid enough to hand such an idiot the reins of government. It’s enough to drive me out of my mind. Why the disparities? FIFTY EPIDEMICS—FIFTY SOLUTIONS. So now consider what happens when only ONE of the 50 screws up? Here’s another question—at what point will Biden be compelled to declare martial law? Will he wait until it is too late to matter?

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crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I am not sure I understand what you mean by ‘vaccination sites’. Are these specially set up by the state just for covid vaccinations?

As far as I know, California will depend on the normal medical care providers to handle the vaccinations.

@YARNLADY I think what happened was that the states were counting on personnel that got too busy with the surge in covid cases. So the plans got messed up.

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stanleybmanly's avatar

Nobody gives a hot damn what you will respond to. Just sit there and take the pounding you so richly deserve. And where’s that other idiot who told us news of the pandemic would disappear after the election?

JLeslie's avatar

@crazguy Right now in Florida the counties have sites set up by the health department for the general population. It’s done by county, my county has two locations.

There is indication that eventually people will be able to get it at other locations though. I think there is a lot of focus on vaccinating healthcare workers and nursing homes now, and that is mostly being done at the hospitals and nursing homes. I’m not sure about staff at doctors’ offices.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@crazyguy Sit down ! Trump couldn’t plan a “one car parade” he’d forget to get a permit ! !

mazingerz88's avatar

Is there anybody in the sore loser sociopath’s administration in charge, has a plan and overseeing the vaccine’s distribution and reporting to the American people at least once daily as to its progress? Yes? No?

If not then why can’t Biden take an office at the Eisenhower building for the meantime so he can do the job of vaccination czar or something?

When a sociopath is in the WH 340,000 American deaths simply do not matter. But to majority of Americans I believe it still does. At least one paid government worker should give the American people regular updates!

stanleybmanly's avatar

This pandemic is the BIG, grim and undisguised open expression of the great crisis that is Donald Trump and his baggage train of incompetent toadies and sycophants. Worse than the decision to place the fool at the head of our parade is the stark revelation that we cannot be relied on to rationally make collective decisions on this disease in our own interests. It is just mind boggling that at this late date there are STILL people who either do not understand (or worse), do not accept the depth or extent of the troubles AHEAD of us concerning this pandemic. Tesla?

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie You said: “I think there is a lot of focus on vaccinating healthcare workers and nursing homes now, and that is mostly being done at the hospitals and nursing homes. I’m not sure about staff at doctors’ offices.” That is what is going on in California and most other states that I know about.

However, the other thing you talk about, vaccination for the general public, has not started in any other state that I am aware of. How do such sites get any supply of vaccine?

crazyguy's avatar

@mazingerz88 Where have you been? The plan was promulgated many times, there is a vaccine czar. Daily updates are available at
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations

If Biden supporters are as uninformed as you, the country is going to be in a mess.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy Most states are doing essential workers before 65 and up so maybe those states are going to the workplaces to vaccinate or telling the management at the workplaces places where to send their employees for vaccination.

Only Florida and Texas (that I know of) are vaccinating older people before essential workers. Florida has high risk essential frontline workers happening simultaneously with 65 and up. When I say essential I do not mean healthcare and nursing home, everyone knows frontline healthcare workers and nursing homes are first period.

Every state is probably vaccinating more than just healthcare workers right now it just matters what their next phase is whether you might be aware of what’s going on. More than one phase can be happening simultaneously. Our healthcare and nursing homes were being done exclusively for a few weeks before it opened up to 65 and up and other frontline essential high risk people.

crazyguy1's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks for the summary. I understand.

kritiper's avatar

Distribution glitches. This is a new game and nobody has the precise technique quite worked out yet. We’ll get there, don’t worry.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The country is GOING to be in a mess if Biden supporters are uninformed???? You mean to tell us that when Biden takes office he will receive a country in good working order with covid under control? Go back to the top of the page and read your own question. Then lecture us some more on the consequences of ignorant supporters.

crazyguy1's avatar

@kritiper I think the major glitch was that states did not plan for a major resurgence in covid at the same time that the vaccine hit.

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy1 All 50 of them??

stanleybmanly's avatar

In other words, the states were just as foolish as some of the people here—rudderless without strong leadership. You know, the folks who told us we should all just get sick and get it over with.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy1 The glitch has nothing to do with covid numbers going up from where I sit. What does that have to do with anything? Where I live the counties were ridiculous not to expect a HUGE amount of people wanting the vaccine when we literally have the largest 55 and up CITY in the country here. Our hospitals are not full here, hospitals are not giving out the vaccinations to the average person who does not work in health care. Our flu numbers are very low in my state.

Any state that did not anticipate high covid case numbers in December and January is an idiot. Did anyone need an expert to tell us that holiday travel and parties would mean more people sick and dying? To say the experts didn’t know, sounds to me like maybe some doctors need to have their license taken away.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I think this can be considered a simple math problem. How long does it take to unload 100, 000 units from a truck? A few minutes with a forklift and the load is considered “delivered ”. Now, how long does it take to administer one vaccine injection? Remember, you have to keep track of the person’s name, address, age, any medical conditions they might have. You need to find out about their allergies and fill out a questionnaire checking their health. You need to keep the room where you are administering the vaccine spotless. Oh, and you need to get the vaccine from the freezer and put it in a syringe and actually give it to the person. All of this takes a lot more time than the one second that it takes to deliver the product.
So, you do the math. How much total time do you think it takes to administer one injection?

Dutchess_III's avatar

The answer is simple. You can deliver a truckload of vaccine in short order, but the actual vaccinations are given One. At. A. Time.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Exactly right! I feel like many of the states did not think it through.

rebbel's avatar

Because time.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Is this a national pandemic or not? If so, what happens if your public health system nationally is defined as disjointed fiefdoms ranging from robust and functional through anemic and barely existent. The pathology of this disease will mirror the current disparities in outcomes for other chronic conditions, only enhanced enormously in scale in regards to covid. And once more, your odds as an individual concerning every aspect of this plague may hinge on where you live in this sad country.

crazyguy's avatar

@kritiper Looking at the Covid Vaccine Tracker (see https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations), some states are doing better than others. For instance, Tennessee has used over half the doses it received as of 9 am this morning. The Dakotas have done even better. By contrast, Arizona has used less than 20%.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t know where you sit. BUT it is pretty obvious to me that if the plan were to use 50 nurses at a facility to administer the vaccine, and 30 of them are busy with other duties, progress may be slower than planned.

There is often a disconnect between plans and reality.

@LuckyGuy Yes, the logistics of vaccine distribution are relatively straightforward. BECAUSE the actual administration of the vaccine is more difficult, it is evident that more people are needed.

@Dutchess_III Agreed.

@JLeslie Careful now. You cannot blame the states, when it is OBVIOUSLY Trump’s fault.

@rebbel I think you were intending to say more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Nice link @crazyguy. Not liking what I see for Kansas tho.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Cheer up. You could still be blessed with Brownback. You know what HE thought of public services.

crazyguy1's avatar

@Dutchess_III I did not like what I saw for California.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Cali isn’t TOO bad. They’ll catch up soon.

janbb's avatar

I do think the holidays and vaccinaters having days off may have something to do with it. I hope things are ramping up now.

jca2's avatar

Just a guess, but Tennessee and the Dakotas are less densely populated than Arizona, therefore, easier to vaccinate the population of Tennessee and the Dakotas.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy The people at the health department locations are not nurses and doctors taking care of patients at a hospital. There are two hospitals that serve my city. One currently has 6 ICU beds open, that says to me they are probably handling the covid patients ok, although, I know they do have a lot of covid patients, I don’t know how many at this time. The other hospital has 8 ICU open. As far as I know the second hospital I mentioned will be giving out vaccinations to the public eventually, hopefully that starts soon. None of our hospitals in my area have stopped elective surgeries, which is required when they get to 80% full or higher in the hospital during covid to make sure they can handle a sudden increase in covid patients, unless that has changed. Moreover, we have a lot of part time and retired medical professionals here who would donate their time to help.

@jca2 I would think the distribution would be based on adult population size. I haven’t looked at the breakdown by state, I only looked at the breakdown by counties in my state. I hope Florida got more than it’s share since we are going to be vaccinating out of staters, I don’t know if we did. Also, I think dense cities should get more than their share. NYC and the metro area, Detroit, L.A., San Fran, Miami, Atlanta, DC, all those cities should be favored initially over more rural areas in my opinion.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

My county health department is giving vaccinations for COVID-19; only problem is you have to have an appointment. The county phone system went into full meltdown because you have to phone for that appointment.

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy I knew that. Odds were it would have to be true at least with some states.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@crazyguy….what kind of facility, outside of a hospital, would have 50 nurses?

crazyguy1's avatar

@Dutchess_III I am sure California will catch up soon. As will all the other states. Keep in mind that as we vaccinate higher percentages of vulnerable populations, the number of covid cases should go down, thereby freeing up more resources for vaccinations.

As to the kind of facility that would have 50 nurses, please keep in mind 50 was a number pulled out of thin air, just as a for instance.

crazyguy1's avatar

@janbb Yes the holidays did play a part. BUT that impact was foreseeable. Some impact of holiday get-togethers on covid cases was probably anticipated also. However, I think the surges have been incredibly fast and large; I doubt if the plans allowed for such a large surge.

@jca2 You are right about the Dakotas – they have among the lowest population densities in the States. However, Tennessee is middle of the pack at 160 people per sq. mile. Arizona is much less densely populated at 60 people per sq. mile (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_and_territories_of_the_United_States_by_population_density)

@JLeslie If Florida can use totally different sets of people for vaccinations and giving care to covid cases, more power to them. However, the reality in most states is that some of the same people are required for both functions. You probably don’t need doctors for vaccinations, but, you sure need nurses and LVNs.

mazingerz88's avatar

That CDC website is the vaccine czar? That is the face of the human being who is supposed to talk to the American people as human beings about the pace of daily vaccinations whether it is on track or slowing down?

Maybe we need to pay him or her more so this vaccine czar would have the time and interest to demand from TV networks some daily airtime so we can get updates from an actual human being.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: A public health department (County Health Department for example, or State Health Department) would have 50 nurses, if the County were big enough.

mazingerz88's avatar

Howard Stern’s sentiment.

The thing that’s really pissing me off is that this motherf*cking government that hardly exists now, they can’t get the coronavirus vaccine out,” Stern, 66, said, adding he would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine himself.

“Front-line workers in hospitals can’t get it, and you’re making f*cking phone calls to try to end the election?” Stern said of Trump. “What happened to this country? It’s such a disappointment that we cannot vaccinate people. We can’t get f*cking vaccine into people’s arms.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

We are getting the vaccine into people. Just not as fast as we’d like.

crazyguy's avatar

@mazingerz88 Wow! Are we mad or what!

I would rather get data from a website than a human who might misstate the numbers. But each to his/her own.

I used to like Howard Stern at one time. Now I am wondering why!

@Dutchess_III About 400,000 per day average over the last week or so. At that rate, it will take us about 1,000 days to get everybody!

stanleybmanly's avatar

You’re leaving out the huge crowd of those who will refuse vaccination—the GUARANTEE that the epidemic rages on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My son, who works at a retirement home, said they’ll be getting their vaccinations out there on the 15th.

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III I thought employees and residents of retirement homes were in Group 1a, which should be almost done by the 15th.

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess I found another website that shows percentages of doses used by each state in tabular form instead of making you hover on the map. Much better.

See https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/

The data shows that the states using more than 50% of doses distributed to them are:

Tennessee 51.5
Connecticut 54.7
Iowa 50.0
New Hampshire 56.0
South Dakota 64.5
North Dakota 54.8

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just telling you what my son said.

LuckyGuy's avatar

That is a good site if the numbers can be believed. I noticed something interesting.

“The U.S. is managing state allocations of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, as well as Moderna’s shot, with the goal of getting 20 million doses distributed by early January. Both vaccines require two doses taken several weeks apart. The second doses are being held in reserve until they’re ready to be administered.

That means the very best we should see is 50% at this point since half of the doses are being held in reserve.

crazyguy's avatar

@LuckyGuy A percentage requires two numbers. Depending on how you choose the numbers the percentage can be anything you want it to be.

The percentages I have been quoting are simple: number of doses in people’s arms as a percentage of total number of doses delivered to the state. I think the main question is who is holding the second doses. If the states are holding them, you are absolutely correct. However, I believe Pfizer and/or the Federal Government are holding them.

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