Vaccine Distribution Making Slow Progress in U.S.

Michael Angee, Design Editor

In Dec. 2020, the government started distributing two COVID-19 vaccines, but many states have experienced shortages. Although scientists have seemingly mastered the research and development behind the vaccine, the logistics of distribution provide a larger problem. 

Scientists at  Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna managed to develop a vaccine much quicker than anyone expected. Rollout of the vaccine was prompted by the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. 

Many states are facing shortages. Due to this, Florida governor Ron DeSantis is enforcing a new law that states that people must live at least part time in Florida to receive the vaccine from the state. 

The order by health officials was prompted by the fact that many of those getting shots in Florida were not from the state. This effort to stop “vaccine tourism” means Florida residents have a better chance of receiving the vaccine earlier, and will provide opportunities for Florida residents to secure their appointment for the vaccine. 

A partnership with scientists, Operation Warp Speed involves researchers and the U.S. government and was founded in May 2020. Operation Warp Speed  aimed to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Although the former presidential administration helped establish Operation Warp speed, the plan regarding the partnership was rocky. President Trump wanted to take the distribution one week at a time, giving the states little to no time when planning it out. 

State officials have made formal complaints relating to this and even saying that once the shots reach the state, chaos ensues due to the unpredictable amount of vaccines the state may receive. 

With the COVID-19 death count almost surpassing 400,000, the need for a vaccine seems greater than ever.

Due to the shortage of the vaccine across Florida and the US, hospitals such as Nicklaus Children’s Hospital are experiencing an unexpected slow down of distribution. 

“Anyone who has an appointment for their second shot will get their shot, but no other family member appointments are being taken,” Genetic Counselor at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Katherine Schain said. 

Schain and other healthcare workers are first in line for the vaccination, as well as any family members of theirs over the age of 65. 

“As a citizen, not as a health care employee, I felt like they weren’t quite prepared for the demand. There are so many people I know that want appointments, that want to get the vaccine and access is limited,” Schain said. 

Some states did not prioritize the elderly as highly as health care workers, but now states such as Pennsylvania are expanding the amount of people who qualify for the vaccine. 

In states such as Texas, only 10% of eligible residents have received their vaccine due to shortages across the state and nation. 

With Joe Biden now holding power as President, he and his Covid task force are determined to not only distribute millions of vaccine shots but have 100 million Americans obtain their vaccine within 100 days. 

Health officials within the Biden administration are aware of the problems brought forward by Operation Warp Speed and are ready to address and solve them as soon as possible.