While Californians are dying at a record rate from the coronavirus, with the number now reaching 525 per day, according to ABC News, while the concomitant demand for vaccines to fight the virus soars, nearly two million doses of vaccines for the coronavirus are lying unused, “locked up in cold storage,” as the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“California has among the lower rates of vaccine administration in the country, with only 38% of the 3.1 million doses delivered to the state actually being given so far — leaving close to 2 million doses apparently stored in freezers and awaiting recipients,” The Chronicle notes, adding that the state’s ineptitude in vaccinating its residents is “putting the nation’s largest state far behind West Virginia, the Dakotas and most other states in the proportion of population that has been vaccinated.”
The method California uses to distribute vaccines is this: the state has 58 local health departments and three city health departments; sometimes the local health department schedules vaccine appointments, but private providers also offer vaccines. According to the California Department of Public Health, they do not ever possess the vaccines; instead, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses are sent to the county health departments and large health care providers.
The counties and big health systems order from the state, which in turn transfers the requests to the federal government. “The federal government decides how many doses it will allocate each state, and directs the manufacturers and distributors to ship doses accordingly. The state allocates doses to the counties and health systems; the counties deliver vaccine to some smaller local providers or give the shots at community clinics,” the Chronicle writes, adding, “… the state has provided little transparency about the number of doses delivered to and administered by each provider. That makes it difficult to pinpoint where exactly the unused doses are.”
As some private providers are allocated vaccines directly by the state, some counties are unaware how many vaccines the private providers have obtained.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian stated, “Is it any wonder, given the Rube Goldberg contraption that’s been designed for (vaccine) delivery, that people are confused and uncertain about where the next doses comes from? To call it convoluted is an understatement. … The system is built in a way that does not provide for accountability. Everybody has somebody else to blame, and that is not serving us well at this particular time. In order for the system to work there has to be simplicity and convenience. And so far we’ve seen precious little of either.”
The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday:
More than 530 Californians are now dying every day from COVID-19, pushing several counties past new, grim milestones. Just this week, Santa Clara County and Sacramento County each reported its 1,000th cumulative COVID-19 death, while San Diego County notched its 2,000th. And Los Angeles County, long the epicenter of California’s coronavirus outbreak, officially surpassed 13,000 pandemic-related fatalities Thursday — a death toll larger than all but nine states.
L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer stated, “This disease is running rampant right now, and we continue to plead with residents, businesses and government, the community, to do all possible to stop the spread.”
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