U.S. vaccine drive complicated with 1st, 2nd dose juggling

The U.S. has entered a tricky phase in the COVID-19 vaccination effort, with providers trying to increase the number of people receiving first shots while ensuring that more and more people receive a second dose when millions more Americans become eligible for vaccinations.

The fact that everyone has to give two doses a few weeks apart makes it extremely difficult for the country’s largest vaccination campaign to date. And the constant uncertainty about future vaccine stocks raises concerns that some may not be able to get a second shot in time.

In some cases, local health departments and providers have said they should temporarily prevent or even cancel first-dose discussions to ensure there are enough second doses available for those who need it.

Nola Rudolph said she struggled to make appointments for her 71-year-old father and 68-year-old mother, who live in rural New York State. He was booked everywhere he looked at just driving distance.

“Seeing that they were eligible, I was upset,” he said. “Seeing that they were in a dead zone, I became hopeless again, very hopeful.”

He was able to arrange a second dose for his father, but had not yet found a place for his mother. – It’s like going around.

In the past month or so, the U.S. has delivered an average of 900,000 first doses per day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed by The Associated Press. Many of them are now receiving the second dose, and the average number of Americans who scored the second shot reached an all-time high on Tuesday – 539,000 a day last week.

The growing demand for second servings occurs as the Biden administration takes steps to increase the supply of servings.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced Tuesday that states will rise to 11 million a week starting next week, more than 2 million doses a week since President Joe Biden took office.

Since the vaccine was approved in late December, about 33 million people in the United States have been shot.

“It’s very important and critical to recognize that there are still not enough doses to get around,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control in Maine.

To date, approximately 10% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of vaccine. About 3% received both doses, AP analysis showed.

In Los Angeles County, health officials say limited care means the majority of vaccinations this week are for the second dose. In the state of Napa County, some dates for the first doses were canceled last week to ensure it was enough for the second dose.

“We get a lot of questions from community members,‘ Is my second dose at risk? “And we don’t have an answer right now because it all depends on the inventory coming from the state,” said county inspector Alfredo Pedroza.

Both COVID-19 vaccines are distributed in the United States, and two shots are needed a few weeks apart to maximize protection. For Pfizer, there is said to be a difference of three weeks. It’s four weeks for Modern. But if necessary, the reminder could be postponed for up to six weeks, according to the CDC, which updated its guidance late last month.

State and local health officials are now stressing that the extended timeframe for public messaging will alleviate concerns that people may not receive their second admission on time.

Federal officials said they are confident there will be enough doses for people to get their second shot.

In some places, the difficulty of feeding the second dose to feed the concerns. While many places schedule a reminder when the first shot is fired, others ask people to schedule them later because of logistical issues.

Tanny O’Haley is 64 years old and suffers from Parkinson’s disease, but she is not eligible for COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, where she lives. He was able to get the first dose when he accompanied his 69-year-old wife to the vaccination because there was a shot left on the spot.

O’Haley was unable to schedule his second dose despite making several calls to local officials and the county health department. He plans to try again when he takes his wife to his second meeting on Wednesday.

“The whole experience was very awful,” O’Haley said.

In New Hampshire, officials dispose of the current schedule system after thousands of people struggled to seize their amps within the recommended time – some of which will be discussed two months later. People now get dates for their second recording when they get the first one.

New Hampshire is one of several local jurisdictions that have signed up to use the CDC Vaccine Administration Management System or VAMS.

Another type of scheduling problem arose at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada last week, when the venue opened only as a clinic dedicated to second doses. When appointments were made available online, people craving their first dose set up slots.

“The vaccination was enough – we just have to somehow control the crowd,” said JoAnn Rupiper of the South Nevada Health District.

People who planned the first dose on the spot have been canceled, Rupiper said. To ensure that eligible people who have had difficulty scoring online appointments receive a second admission, the convention center will allow crawls.

Despite scheduling disruptions, health officials and providers say the main challenge remains the variability in limited supply and weekly to weekly divided doses. Despite the increase in shipments announced by President Joe Biden’s administration, local officials and service providers say they don’t have enough rations to meet demand.

The shortage is one of the reasons Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s chief infectious disease expert, noted the potential value of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine, which recently requested emergency approval. This shot is also cheaper to produce and easier to transport.

Pedroza said last week’s cancellations took place in Napa County, California, after a surge in shipments a few weeks ago prompted the county to think it would continue to receive at least as many doses. But the spike turned out to be a one-time fall, ”Pedroza said.

In Seattle, UW Medicine temporarily stopped accepting new discussions until the end of January due to limited care, along with which others had to be given a second dose.

“If there was more supply, we would be happy to have more first-dose appointments,” said Cynthia Dold, vice president of clinical operations at UW Medicine.


Associated Press reporters, Paul J. Weber, Texas, Nicky Forster, New York, Olga R. Rodriguez, San Francisco, Michelle R. Smith, Providence, Rhode Island, and Holly Ramer, Concord, New Hampshire.


The Department of Health and Science of the Associated Press receives support from the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Institute of Medicine. All content is the sole responsibility of AP.