Healthcare Economy

COVID-19: In This State, Only 22% of Vaccine Has Been Used

The current rate of efforts to vaccinate Americans is incredibly slow. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says it will pick up as logistics systems are improved. However, about 17.2 million doses have been distributed and 5.5 million have been administered, a rate of only 32%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the data are a day old, they tell the story of the failure to get vaccines from factories into people’s arms. The rate of vaccination by state compared to available doses varies widely. In one state, it is under 22%.

Georgia has received 524,925 doses. Of those, 110,548 have been administered, which is 21.5%. That is the lowest rate in America. It shows how problematic distribution can be. Since doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have to be frozen, it also raises the specter that some of the doses will not be given while they are still effective.

Both public and private officials have bemoaned the problem of the rate of vaccination. Dr. Harry J. Heiman, a clinical associate professor at the Georgia State University School of Public Health, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Looking at our state numbers and national numbers, it really speaks to our utter failure to appropriately execute a public health response to the pandemic.”

Problems at the federal, state and local government levels have been blamed for the slow rollouts. At the federal level, experts say, there is no single authority for logistics. Distribution plans have been handed to states, which in turn often have passed them to local officials. That means thousands of decisions have to be made about distribution plans, often without the knowledge of when the vaccine will arrive.

Make no mistake about the need for vaccines in Georgia. Currently, there are 690,137 confirmed cases and 11,165 fatal ones, according to the Microsoft Bing COVID-19 Tracker. The New York Times offers one measure of how badly each state has done recently. It lists Georgia among the states where cases are “higher and staying high.”

As is true with the rest of the nation, taking preventive measures may slow the disease, but too many people have ignored them. National deaths, which number over 360,000, are expected to rise as high as 700,000 by April, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine. Even if the distribution of vaccine becomes more effective, that number is unlikely to fall much between now and then.

Over 700,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 by April 1. Here’s the analysis.