First, Jha pointed out, Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services, told The Hill in October that ‘our 100 million doses against [the] end of December. ”
At the time, according to the publication, it could mean that the US has enough of the vaccine “for every American by March.”
‘Then, by November, Azar had said 40 million doses [were] ready to send out [the] end of December, ”Jha wrote. ‘Now we’ll miss it [the] 20M deadline, but may only be able to reach 20M in early January. ”
But, Jha, wrote: “this really is not the worst part.”
The worst part, he explained, is the lack of planning on what happens when the vaccines arrive in countries.
“No plan, no money, just hope states will figure it out,” he wrote.
So there is a lot of talk about the slow vaccine
Personally, I am incredibly frustrated.
Did we not know that there would be vaccines? Is vaccine administration a surprise?
Several complicated issues can break things down like this
Warning, it’s a bit rushed
– Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH (@ashishkjha) 29 December 2020
At the state level, health departments are already tense and overloaded, Jha wrote.
‘These well-funded agencies (yes, I’m kidding) that run all the testing and data analysis [and] reporting, advice to businesses, schools, public campaigns, and so on, ”Jha wrote. “Without ceasing. For [nine] months. They also get vaccinations. ”
Most departments are ‘super stretched’, but are still trying to make a plan – despite a lack of resources and help from the federal government, Jha wrote.
“They are trying to set up a vaccination infrastructure,” Jha wrote. “Congress did not give them any money. States have no more money. So many give it to hospitals, nursing homes. ”
Jha added, “Is this something known?”
He compares the current implementation to ‘our national test debacle’ – and says that the same problems that happened then are now being repeated.
“And now hospitals and clinics are figuring out how to implement it,” Jha wrote.
Referring to a CNN article on the situation, Jha points to one line from Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s health officer, which he says “drives him crazy.”
‘The line when [the] Mississippi health chief says [it’s] not [the] state’s task is to ensure that vaccines get into people’s arms, ”Jha wrote. “What? Whose job is it? Not the Feds. They only get vaccinated to states. Not the states. They only get vaccinated to hospitals, clinics.”
‘So [it’s] all on the leading suppliers? Jha wrote.
Despite this, Jha noted that ‘many states’ are doing the job and ‘taking real responsibility’.
“Many people who have been overloaded with public health are still making it work,” Jha wrote. “Heroic.”
But because of the issues, Jha explained, hospitals are trying to “figure out where to set up vaccination sites”, while others in charge are trying to figure out “who can do vaccinations in care facilities.”
Jha also outlined some important data points: the US distributed about 11.5 million doses, about 2.1 million were given to humans, and he thinks’ the actual number is higher (report delay), but [it’s] still not that great. ”
The part that is ‘most frustrating’ to Jha, however, is that “there seems to be no investment or plan in the last mile.”
“There has been ‘no attempt’ by the federal government to help states launch a proper vaccination infrastructure,” he wrote.
“Didn’t the Feds know there would be vaccines coming?” Jha wrote. “Shouldn’t the planning of vaccinations, etc. have taken place in October or November?”
Public health, Jha wrote, has always been a collaborative effort between states and the federal government, but now ‘states have been stretched’ at a time when managers'[supposed] to help. “
‘But [the] the same people who blame states for [the] test mess [are] now ready to blame states for [the] delays the vaccine, ”Jha wrote. “They are reinstating states to fail.”
Beyond that, Jha writes, “there is hope.”
Congress has finally passed the allocation of funds for the distribution of vaccines, Jha writes, and states are now building infrastructure – something that ‘had to be built by the Feds months ago’.
“After a slow drive, things will get better,” Jha wrote. ‘We learn again that we can not fight [the] pandemic with each state on its own. An Effective Federal [government] help. ”