States report vaccine shortages and cancel appointments

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NEW YORK (AP) – The push to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus hits a roadblock: a number of states report they are running out of vaccine and tens of thousands who have managed to obtain appointment for a first dose see them canceled.

The full explanation for the apparent mismatch between supply and demand was unclear, but last week the US Department of Health and Human Services suggested that states have unrealistic expectations about the quantity vaccine on the way.

The shortages come as states dramatically scale up their immunization campaigns, led by the federal government, to reach people 65 and older, as well as other groups deemed essential or at high risk. More than 400,000 deaths in the United States have been attributed to the virus.

First-grade teacher Karen Stachowiak spent nearly five hours on the hotline and site New York State Web to land an appointment for Wednesday, only to cancel it. The Buffalo-area resident and her parents were among several thousand people whose appointments had been canceled in Erie County due to supply issues.

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“It’s stressful because I was so close. And my other friends who are teachers, they were able to make appointments for last Saturday, ”said Stachowiak. “There are so many people taking theirs and then it’s like, ‘No, I have to wait.'”

About half of the 31 million doses distributed to states by the federal government have been administered so far, although only about 2 million people have received the two doses needed for maximum protection against COVID-19, according to the reports. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. .

European countries are also struggling to get enough doses to provide protection against a virus that is now appearing in new, more contagious variants around the world.

Pfizer said last week that it would temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine to Europe and Canada while improving the capacity of its plant in Belgium, which supplies all vaccines delivered outside the United States. In the United States, Pfizer has a plant in Michigan.

In the United States, some states have suggested they could run out of vaccine by Thursday and don’t know when new doses will arrive.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday the city had to cancel 23,000 appointments for people waiting for their first dose this week due to insufficient supplies. The mayor, who has sounded the alarm bells over vaccine shortages for days, said the situation was made worse by a delay in delivering the Moderna vaccine this week to the city.

“So we were already feeling the stress of a vaccine shortage,” he said. “Today the situation is even worse. We have to think differently right now. “

The city’s health commissioner, Dr Dave Chokshi, said the 103,400 doses of Moderna due for delivery on Tuesday – 54,200 first doses and 49,200 second doses – are now due on Wednesday and Thursday.

Citing a statewide shortage of vaccines, the New York Police Department has suspended first-injection vaccinations for its officers.

In Florida, local media reported a similar problem in the Miami area, where the Baptist health care system canceled appointments that were scheduled for the first doses.

Full coverage: coronavirus pandemic

“I could have blown my head with steam,” Charlotte Reeve, 76, told the Miami Herald. “I am also a fairly recent widow …

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