4 Million Vaccine Day marks a sea change for America.


People wait in line to enter the New York-Presbyterian Fort Washington Armory Covid-19 vaccination site in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood.

Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich / Bloomberg

Landscape architect Scheri Fultineer emerged from the white vaccination tent at Massachusetts General Hospital with a plaster on her shoulder and a sense of delight at how easy it was. “At the beginning of the year,” he said, “I was not optimistic.”

In mid-February, just as eligibility was expanding to everyone over 65, the state’s registration website crashed, enraging Governor Charlie Baker so much that he publicly raged: “My hair is on fire.”

Across the United States, these direct setbacks have been corrected and more. Massachusetts’ vaccine effort is advancing so fast that nearly 38% of residents have received at least one dose, and the new massive system for receiving arm injections has a large untapped capacity.

“We could double our vaccination rate without too much effort,” said Paul Biddinger, physician and chairman of the state’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.

Fenway Park opens as a mass vaccination site

A person waits in the observation area after receiving a dose of the Pfizer BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Fenway Park in Boston.

Photographer: Adam Glanzman / Bloomberg

Almost half of the US states. opened vaccination to everyone over the age of 16 at the end of last week. That will increase to 36 by the end of this week. The 50 have now pledged to open eligibility to all adults by May 1, President Joe Biden’s goal. The administration will now accelerate that benchmark until April 19, a White House official said Tuesday morning, asking to remain anonymous before the announcement.

Across the country, vaccinations hit a seven-day average of more than 3 million per day last weekend, with the country registering a 4 million shot on Saturday. (On Monday, the daily immunization count plummeted to 2.1 million, but the drop was an expected anomaly after a holiday weekend.)

“Quite a change,” tweeted medical researcher and author Eric Topol. “Who would have thought that the same country that couldn’t even get a working, scalable COVID test for two months could vaccinate more than 4 million people in one day?”

More than 100 million Americans have received at least one dose, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about a third of the population. Daily rates are expected to rise further as vaccine manufacturers deliver the promised 700 million doses by the end of July.

Linked to 4 Million Vaccine Day indicates a sea change for America.

The threshold for herd immunity is estimated at around three-quarters of the population; At the current rate, it could be accomplished in three months, according to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

The pace has picked up in recent weeks. This winter, it took the country five weeks to go from an average of 1 million shots a day to 2 million shots, hampered by limited early supply and bad weather. It only took four weeks to reach the current average of more than 3 million shots a day.

It remains to be seen if the vaccination campaign can outperform the newer variants of the virus, but it is a race.

In New York City, more than 450 vaccination sites are now scattered across the five boroughs, an infrastructure so extensive that the city can inoculate half a million people a week if it has the supply. The locations, including a network of 24-hour clinics and centers, not to mention Yankee Stadium, are so plentiful that they have attracted many vaccine applicants from out of town.

In Washington state, delivery has gone so well that eligibility will open to the general population 16 and older in mid-April, two weeks earlier than initially planned.

And in Los Angeles, Andrew Friedman, a resident who created an alert service that gives Twitter followers updates on when and where they can get vaccinations, said he’s seen available dating sites rise from just a couple to 37 in a recent day.

Those represented thousands of possible spaces just as Los Angeles County was expanding its availability to those 50 and older on Thursday, and to anyone 16 and older on April 15. “It’s so much easier to get an appointment,” Friedman said. “There are a lot more doses coming out, and it’s getting a lot smoother.”

Covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution-world-time-series-rates-online

So after some initial efforts went embarrassingly wrong, what’s going right now?

First, “we got the vaccine supply flowing through the system,” said Robert Huckman, faculty chair of the Health Care Initiative at Harvard Business School. “That is probably the biggest driver of our ability to expand the number of injections given each day.”

The next most important factor, Huckman said, is the addition of many more shooting locations, including “larger channels.” Massachusetts, for example, has seven mass vaccination sites, including Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots play soccer.

“Massachusetts embraced mass vaccination from the beginning,” said Tim Rowe, executive director of CIC Health, which runs those mega sites. Its parent company, inactive by the pandemic, applied its experience in real estate development for technology and biotechnology companies to configure the spaces, he said.

“We were the kids on the block who had the time and the experience,” from logistics to licensing to visitor handling, Rowe said. “They are basic things that you have to do well.”

The Mobile Vaccine Squad is on a mission to protect those most in need

Vehicles line up at a Covid-19 vaccination site in Novato, California.

Photographer: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

Dizzying efforts across the country to build massive vaccine sites yielded some initial failures, Rowe said, but “that was the learning curve.”

In Texas, 28% of the population has received at least one dose, close to the national rate, and the state received a supply of 2.5 million doses this week, the most ever.

The Massachusetts megasites have fired more than half a million shots. Hospitals and pharmacies combined have given more than three times as much, the latest state figures show.

“Hospitals have really done a lot of vaccines,” Biddinger of the advisory council said. “We are truly fortunate to have an extraordinary healthcare infrastructure.”

Community health centers and local health departments are also collaborating. And when it comes to helping people sign up for their shots, even individuals have contributed, guiding people through enrollment or creating DIY software tools to get a spot.

‘Laggards’, variants

For now, the demand for vaccines remains greater than the supply. But “at some point in the next two months, the supply will be greater than the demand,” Biddinger said, and that is what worries him the most.

It would be great if at least 60% of the population could get vaccinated before “we’re really starting to beat the bushes,” he said. “But to get to more than 70 or 80 percent It will be difficult. And we really have to understand the reasons for everyone’s hesitation, and we have to be able to address them and we have to overcome them. “

Recent surveys find growing acceptance of vaccines in the US: 75% are willing to receive the vaccines, up from 67% at the end of January, according to AP-NORC. vote.

“What about the last quarter?” Rowe of CIC Health said. “There is a lot of work to think about the laggards.”

States have also been stepping up their equity efforts, he said, trying to provide more access to disadvantaged neighborhoods. On average, states have vaccinated more than a quarter of their white population, but only about 1 in 7 black people and 1 in 8 Hispanic residents, according to a demographic study. Bloomberg analysis.

This week, a new The Federal Emergency Management Agency mega-site in a convention complex in downtown Boston is scheduled to administer 7,000 injections a day, particularly to people from nearby communities of color.

California Offers Vaccines to Everyone 50 Years and Older

A community vaccination clinic administering doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine inside the Viejas Arena on the campus of San Diego State University in California.

New York City officials have said they would step up vaccination in minority and immigrant neighborhoods, though gaps persist. For example, blacks make up 24% of the city’s population, but 20% of those vaccinated with at least one injection.

Even as vaccine numbers escalate, so do the cases of more contagious variants. At UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, most Covid-19 cases these days involve a new strain, epidemiologist Richard Ellison told Bloomberg Radio.

However, as accountant Laureen Sava walked out of the Massachusetts general vaccination tent in Boston, she said she felt the state and the country were getting ahead of the curve, that “we are going to overcome whatever variant exists. “

She is “not a Democrat,” she said, but the current administration’s vaccination push inspires confidence to the point that she has a hopeful new slogan: “Travel 2022.”

– With the assistance of Christopher Palmeri, Angelica LaVito, Dina Bass, Catarina Saraiva and Henry Goldman

(April 19 Eligibility Goal Updates in Fifth Paragraph)

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