President Biden also demands faster vaccinations. One incident he is expected to make on Friday as he travels to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to visit the Pfizer plant, one of two federally approved vaccine manufacturers.
Federal officials estimate that up to 6 million doses of the vaccine are still being pushed out unnecessarily. Releasing them can increase the dose used by more than 10 percent, significantly increasing the rate of the vaccination program when the speed is needed to save lives, control disease, and prevent more infectious versions of the virus. “So far, 56 million shots have been fired. Only 12 percent of Americans have received one or more doses.
The idea that doses are stored in cold storage while millions of people are being put on waiting lists has deeply disappointed government officials. The roots of the problem are twofold.
First, when the federal long-term vaccination program for long-term care facilities was launched late last year, the CDC provided the number of beds, although the employment rate was the lowest in recent years. According to the American Health Association, a business group now has only 68 percent of nursing home beds and 78 percent of auxiliary living beds.
The CDC then doubled that section to cover staff. But while four-fifths of long-term care residents agreed to be vaccinated during the first month of the program, 63 percent of the staff were not shot, the agency said. Some of them were vaccinated at the time, although it is not clear if more.
Despite the lack of absorption, the network of pharmacies running the program continued to eavesdrop on their divisions from the federal government. Dr. Avula said they used less than one in three doses on their hands in one part of Virginia.
As “good, corporate, non-risk-taking companies,” said Clark Mercer, chief of staff to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northham. “If they can fail, they are going to fail.”