Governors’ red tape blamed as vaccine doses pile up

“The more rules we create, the more fines are imposed, the fewer vaccines are given,” former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC Monday. “That’s the bottom line.”

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo insisted for weeks that only health care workers could get the shots, even if many refused, and only began easing restrictions in the past few days. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom assembled extensive panels of experts to weigh complicated rules for distribution and deepen efforts to reduce bureaucratic confusion.

The government sent 1.2 million doses to New York, but less than half a million people received a shot, according to the CDC’s vaccine tracker. California has shipped nearly 2.5 million doses to local health departments and systems, but just over 783,400 vaccinations have been given. President-elect Joe Biden has set an impressive goal to inject 100 million doses in his first 100 days in office.

“Pharmacists are trying to do the right thing and they know the importance of preventing vaccines from going to waste,” said Mitchel Rothholz, director of vaccination policy for the American Pharmacists Association. “However, if we have conversations in California and New York, you need to know your back will be covered when you pass judgment.”

The slow and cumbersome response from states comes after the federal government offered little support to governors, both in terms of policy orientation and local reinforcement. Heads of State have had to make critical distribution decisions of their own as they faced worsening problems such as labor shortages and funding problems that will persist until the nearly $ 9 billion Congress in support of vaccine distribution is distributed.

Other states have relaxed their rules or tried other strategies to protect against wasted shots. For example, New Jersey and the District of Columbia specifically allow pharmacies and other vendors to administer unused vaccines to the public, based on availability.

And in West Virginia, where officials have ditched the federal distribution framework for vaccinating nursing home and assisted residents and staff in favor of their own network of largely independent pharmacies, everyone over 80 has already got their first shot – and nursing home residents are starting on their second . The state has also started immunizing schools and colleges. While it is a sparsely populated rural state that defies direct comparisons to larger urban states, West Virginia has administered nearly 90,000 of the 126,000 shots it received.

While officials from New York and California have drawn the greatest heat for their restrictive rules, few states have escaped criticism for their cumbersome rollouts.

Virginia, for example, is struggling to keep up with the distribution. This is partly because providers don’t know how to check if someone is eligiblereported the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Observer of the sluggish rollout in Maryland – where two counties have barely used any of their allotted cans, and even Baltimore City is still sitting on most of its footage – have also theorized this rethinking prioritization is part of the problem.

But on the other end of the spectrum from New York and California, Florida has relaxed its rules to give the vaccine to people over 65 – and is now facing a deluge of older adults who cannot get the vaccine in their home states. flock to the vacation destination. The free-for-all that followed created long lines and a lot of confusion, even if it highlighted the barriers to immunization for older people in the rest of the country.

The regional contrasts only increase the pressure on the leaders of the poorly performing campaigns to intensify their efforts.

“We should be following the CDC protocols and if the state has doses that are expiring give them to anyone you can before they become unusable,” said Republican Jordan Cunningham, member of the California Congregation, of his own strategy State. “Quite easy.”

Cuomo, a democrat, has started to respond to growing pressures.

As of Monday, New Yorkers have first responders, teachers, and adults over the age of 75 started getting their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccinesDays after Cuomo reversed its policy of reserving reservations for healthcare workers. The governor continues announced a new Public Health Corps to expedite vaccine delivery across New York as part of his 2021 state priorities.

“We’d prefer people to sign up and wait for the vaccine than the vaccine to wait for people,” Cuomo said during the Monday address practically delivered by the state capitol.

Despite widespread praise for his early handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cuomo faced increasing pressure from lawmakers and local leaders for managing vaccine distribution. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who repeatedly urged Cuomo to extend vaccinations beyond the original priority group, threatened to forego state rules and vaccinate important workers.

“The state has to give in here,” said the Democratic mayor on Friday before Cuomo updated the state’s vaccination policy. “You have created a situation that creates fear and confusion in which doctors cannot act even when they know someone is vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, New York District officials warned that the state’s “use or lose it” policy, along with announced penalties for vendors who knowingly misallocate doses, just added to the confusion. They also pushed for vaccinations to be opened to first responders and elderly residents. Such concerns were not lost on the state legislature.

“The vaccine rollout as we know it has been extremely disappointing,” New York Senate Democratic majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​told reporters on Monday.

In California, where officials have set up a task force and a 60-strong advisory board to try to achieve an equitable distribution, Newsom on Monday lowered criticism that these efforts are slowing the process.

“We are not losing sight of the issue of justice, we are not losing sight of the need to prioritize the most vulnerable and important,” the Democratic governor told reporters.

California officials last week tried to find ways to distribute the cans – an issue that came to the fore when a broken freezer compressor at a northern California hospital forced staff to do so Use up the 830 thawing cans As soon as possible, community members can be injected outside of state guidelines to avoid the vaccine going bad.

Newsom acknowledged that its current strategy “will not get us where we need to go” as soon as necessary. However, he stuck to his goal of vaccinating an additional 1 million people by the weekend, which is more than 1.4 million vaccinations nationwide. To get there, he has offered mass vaccination sites, the ability for vaccines to switch to other tiers when vaccinations run out at the current stage, and expanded the number of health workers authorized to administer the vaccine.

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