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The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine has been shown to be safe and extremely effective in adolescents, and this 1

2-year-old boy shares his experience with vaccine trials.

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO Harry Toy has a health condition that made him eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before others his age, but he could not get an appointment no matter what he tried. Getting on his computer at 6 and checking the California My Turn website or CVS.com website turned out to be fruitful.

So Toy, 62, sought help from his sister. Her husband, whose magical touch at the keyboard had led to her being vaccinated, was able to find a deal with Toy, just as California opened eligibility for all 50-year-olds last week.

“It is really difficult. It’s just knowing to stay put and just keep checking, “Elizabeth Angeles said as she and the newly grafted toy walked out of a San Francisco mass vaccination center on Thursday. And you have to be quick, because sometimes you go into all your information, and when you think you’m done, the deal is gone. My husband got mad at me because he said my email address was too long. “

Even those with quick fingers and short email addresses expect to face abundant frustration securing vaccination deals when the eligible river openings open to most Americans later this month.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday met expectations by saying that all adults would be eligible for a vaccine by April 19, after previously announcing that 90% would be eligible by that date and all by May 1. .

“No more confusing rules, no more confusing restrictions,” Biden said. “Many states have already opened up to all of these, but as of April 19 … every adult in this country is entitled to get to the line to get and COVID vaccination. “

Qualification and availability are not the same as Biden seems to suggest by emphasizing the words “come to the line.” With millions of more people able to pursue these elusive shots, the picture of an April 19 appearance emerges for free, prompting an expert to compare the likely scenario of trying to score Elvis Presley tickets.

At the same time, the expert and others in the medical field say that growing supply will meet the demand in a few weeks and it will just take some time and patience for anyone who wants a vaccine dose to get it.

“Extending to open eligibility will lead to the initial rush of qualified people who have struggled to get the vaccines, navigated the system and signed the moment they are qualified,” said Jason L. Schwartz, assistant professor of health policy at Yale University. and a member of the Connecticut Advisory Committee.

“But the good thing is that we are now moving to such a significant vaccine supply situation that this period will be very short-lived. Very quickly, really within a few weeks of each state switching to open eligibility, we are switching to a completely different phase of vaccine rollout, where we will have plenty of doses available. “

Schwartz is among the public health specialists who view Biden’s goals not only as feasible but “very achievable” and point out the remarkable progress his administration has made in getting vaccines out to the public.

Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 response team, said Monday that the United States averaged 3.1 million doses administered per day last week for the first time, setting a one-day record of 4.1 million on Saturday. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 33% of Americans have received at least one vaccine shot, and 19% are fully vaccinated.

Biden has promised 200 million doses administered in the first 100 days of office – double the number he originally promised – and adequate availability for anyone who qualifies (most children do not) by the end of May, as his administration strives to bring the country closer to normalcy before the Fourth of July holiday.

Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco, gives the U.S. vaccination effort a B + grade, which is significantly higher than an F in the first five weeks under the Trump administration. He noted that the percentage of distributed vaccines now finding their way into people’s arms has risen from around 30% – which he called “scandalous” – to just around 80%.

“For a large country, we are a little behind England, but ahead of everyone else,” Wachter said. “I think you’ll have to look at how we feel and say, ‘That’s pretty good.'”

According to the website Our World in Data, the US rate of 50 vaccine doses administered per 100 people only Britain’s 54.5 among major countries.

With the combined vaccine output from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are expected to increase to approx. 4 million doses a day, Wachter and other experts believe, the vaccine supply will exceed demand in the U.S. by May, at which point the focus will shift to reaching those who are hesitant to get it.

But by comparing the expected crazy touch to vaccine appointments on April 19 with a previous generation fighting for tickets to an Elvis show, Wachter acknowledged that there is still inefficiency in the vaccination program. When April 19 arrives, he predicts that some people will try to play the system and get doses earmarked for them in disadvantaged communities, and others will drive to remote locations in search of a shot.

Eric Mowat, who works in downtown San Francisco, said the day California opened vaccines for residents 50 and older that it felt “miraculous” to get a deal, considering he knows people who have made a 180-mile round trip to Modesto for their first shot. Weeks later, they had to do it again.

Prashant Yadav, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development whose work focuses on improving health care supply chains, said the United States has largely overcome two of the biggest challenges it faces in implementing COVID-19. vaccination program: to have enough supplies and vaccinators.

However, the lack of an integrated, uniform system to inform the public when and where to get the vaccines is still a major obstacle, he said. Each state has its own approach: Agreements are available through state and county websites, health care provider networks, hospitals, retail pharmacies, supermarket chains, and more. The CDC also has a vaccine finder.

The bigger challenge remains how to manage the flow of potential (vaccine recipients) who qualify on April 19 with a patchwork of scheduling systems across states, counties and vaccination providers – systems that do not necessarily speak to each other, said Yadav.

Yadav expects a lot of anger from the public, who log in on April 19 and expect a host of vacancies, only to find a few or none. The aggravation could be even more pronounced among those at the end of the priority list – such as transit workers, postmen, restaurant workers – if their vaccination delay has not been cleared up by that date.

Depending on each state’s decision, they may have to join the unvaccinated masses to seek their shots, though Yadav believes they still need to be prioritized.

On a built-in basis, states like New Hampshire, New Mexico, Connecticut and Maine have excelled at getting their people vaccinated, each giving at least one shot to 39% or more of their residents, according to a New York Times graphic. At the other end, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee are below 28%.

The city’s promised expansion of the retail pharmacy program from 17,000 to 40,000 attendees should help speed up inoculation efforts and achieve its goal of having a vaccination site within 5 miles of where 90% of the country’s residents live. On Monday, Slavitt said the government has opened 25 mass vaccination sites that can administer 95,000 shots a day, and a further four such sites are to come.

Kelly Moore, an adjunct associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University and deputy director of the Immunization Action Coalition, said the increased vaccine supply and the experience of more than three months of administering them make this the right time to drop priority restrictions.

“It will be far more effective to deliver vaccine doses when immunizers can vaccinate anyone who comes without priority group screening,” she said. “Prioritization was always intended to be limited to a short time when vaccine supply was scarce. While these efforts can help get early vaccine doses to those who need it most, it also slows down the process of vaccinating the population. Now that the supply is not scarce, we have to open up and vaccinate with full throttle everywhere. “

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