The COVID-19 vaccine is now available, and many Americans have already been inoculated. However, there is still a lot that needs to be done to stop the pandemic. Hospitals, medical providers, and vaccine distributors are working as quickly as possible to protect the public. Here’s what you need to know about the current vaccine distribution efforts.
Testing Sites Continue to Grow, While Inoculation Sites are Limited
Under the Trump administration, the Department of Health and Human Services partnered with major pharmacy chains and healthcare providers, including CVS and Quest Diagnostics, to provide convenient testing sites in communities with high social vulnerability. The program continues in the Biden administration, covering 3,300 testing sites across the country.
Some of those testing locations, such as those at CVS and Walgreens stores, are now also offering inoculations. However, there are a limited number of vaccines available, and only in certain states. Other states are requiring proof of residency or limiting inoculations to people in at-risk groups, such as healthcare workers, seniors, or people with suppressed immune systems.
COVID-19 Vaccines are Available on a Limited Basis
As part of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government accelerated vaccine production, sending funds to many manufacturers and supporting extensive trials. Although millions of doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been manufactured and shipped, the doses must be transported and stored at very low temperatures. Providers must adopt practices to ensure once thawed, those doses don’t get wasted.
When many hospitals initially received doses for their staff, state guidelines and distribution policies required unused, thawed vials to be discarded. With the vaccine in short supply, but high demand, new approaches are being discussed to use as much of the doses that have been prepared as possible. To help lend insight into this tricky situation, hospitals are required to report the number of vials that they throw away.
Private Partnerships Further Support Distribution Efforts
For those who are eligible to receive the vaccine from their healthcare provider, a public health facility, or a corporate pharmacy or clinic, additional resources are emerging to ensure that vulnerable people can access an inoculation site.
Moderna has partnered with Uber to provide free rides for those who may not otherwise have transportation to get the vaccine. The two companies are looking into ways to streamline the appointment booking and ride scheduling process.
Meanwhile, Amazon is offering its health-tech infrastructure, used in its pharmacy services, to the Biden administration. Their hope is that Amazon can improve the supply chain and get more doses to eligible individuals, including their 800,000 employees across the U.S.
The Efforts Continue
At this time, there is no comprehensive distribution strategy on a national level. However, healthcare providers, private companies, state government, and the vaccine manufacturers are all working together to improve testing and distribute the vaccines as widely as possible.
To inquire about your eligibility status or receive help connecting to a healthcare provider or inoculation site, reach out to your concierge at Bedsiide.