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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

1.5 million vaccines a day: Joe Biden declares war on coronavirus

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

The Democrat has endowed himself with powers of war, invoking the National Defense Act, to boost the production of Pfizer vaccines and medical materials

The history of the pandemic in the United States has always had 50 versions: as many as the number of states. A panoply of strategies that sometimes had nothing to do with each other, and the Biden Administration tries to harmonize with a good injection of federal steroids, especially when it comes to vaccination. Washington is opening vaccination centers in schools, universities and stadiums, such as the Yankees baseball team in the Bronx; Pharmacy chains will participate in the effort and the Pentagon will dispatch 1,110 soldiers to help distribute the doses in the most affected regions.

The Democrat has equipped himself with powers of war, invoking the National Defense Act, to boost the production of Pfizer vaccines and medical supplies, although he has been very cautious when it comes to making promises: a way to ensure that he will deliver them. His goal of vaccinating one million people a day was already practically met by the previous president; right now, injections are around 1.3 million a day, which could soon rise to 1.5 million. The goal is to apply 150 million doses in the first three months of the mandate.

Part of its strategy depends on the new stimulus package negotiated by Congress, which would be the third since the first impact of the pandemic last April. He is expected to dedicate part of his $ 1.9 billion to accelerate vaccination and strengthen the fight against the virus; 350,000 million would alleviate the battered public coffers of states and local governments.

The Administration is also trying to restore health multilateralism. As soon as he was sworn in, Biden interrupted the process of leaving the World Health Organization and announced the joining of the Covax project, aimed at achieving an equal worldwide distribution of the vaccine. His government, however, retains some nationalist tics and is going to buy 200 million more doses of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which will raise national reserves to 1.2 billion doses. Double what is required to immunize the entire US population.

For now, the distribution is being uneven, depending on each state and each ethnic group. The black population is being vaccinated in smaller quantities, proportionally, than the rest. That’s why Washington DC City Council officials have begun distributing vaccines door-to-door in neighborhoods of color. In Virginia counties, free transportation is offered to go to vaccination centers, and in others, preference is being given to residents of the neighborhoods most affected by the covid.

Each state has its priorities when it comes to vaccinating. In Nebraska or South Dakota, workers in the meat industry, critical to their local economies and America’s food supply chain, are high on the list of essential groups. Every sector, from manufacturing to agriculture, dentists or home delivery, pressures the authorities to be among the first to receive the vaccine. A way also to ensure the stability of your businesses.

The gold medal for vaccinations goes, for now, West Virginia. This mountainous state, with an older population and large pockets of poverty, has managed to use 83% of the doses it has received, a larger proportion than the rest of the states. Instead of availing itself of the federal plan, which had the support of the large pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS, West Virginia operated on its own: enrolling the small pharmacies and clinics of the Appalachian Mountains, where population centers tend to be scattered by valleys and hills. The local officials also mention the close personal and family ties that are still preserved in this place, and that would have served to include everyone in the distribution plans.

One of the most common obstacles when it comes to vaccinating vulnerable groups is the internet itself. According to data from the Older Adults Technology Services agency, 42% of those over 65 do not have access to a good online connection, and many of those who do have it allege difficulties when registering for an appointment. 80% of deaths from covid have occurred in this age group.

Meanwhile, the pandemic landscape in the US is gradually improving. New cases of covid-19 have dropped almost by half since their highest peak, marked on January 8. The reduction in cases in some Midwestern counties has been 80%. Infections, in fact, are not on the rise in any of the 50 states. The number of hospitalizations nationwide has also fallen, almost 30% from a month ago.

On the horizon, you can also hear the trot of cavalry reinforcements. Pharmaceutical Johnson & Johnson has asked regulators for the green light for its vaccine, which would consist of a single dose. It is possible that the government will authorize it at the end of February and that the company can begin to distribute the doses in March. The latest trials of his vaccine were around 85% effective.

Two masks

The authorities, however, continue to ask for caution. Washington has been warning for weeks that new variants of the virus, especially the South African one, of which several cases have already been detected in the United States, may slow down progress in vaccination. 

“If variants emerge that are not preventable, against which vaccines are not very effective, we will have to change [our strategy] quickly,” said Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, charged with approving vaccines. The challenge would be to expand the tests and quickly manufacture vaccines adapted to the new strains.

The chief epidemiologist of the Government, Dr Anthony Faucci, recommends using two masks instead of one, and the environment of Biden shuffles sending masks to all North Americans: a complement to the mandate to cover your face on public transport and in federal buildings. A survey by the University of California shows that while more than 80% of Americans support the use of masks, only half of them follow it.

Mutations of the virus have put predictions about when the crisis will end. There is already talk of two pandemics, one with the original virus and one with the new and more contagious strains, which could force them to vaccinate faster and raise the group immunity ratio to 85%. The coming months, as doses unfold, will sweep whether or not 2021 will be the year of release.

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