Winter Storm Slows U.S. COVID Vaccine Rollout
By Ernie Mundell and Robin Foster HealthDay Reporters
TUESDAY, Feb. 16, 2021 (HealthDay Information)
An enormous winter storm that has crippled a lot of america has additionally introduced a lot of the nation’s coronavirus vaccination marketing campaign to a halt.
Clinics have closed and vaccine shipments have been stalled as snow, ice and frigid temperatures have grounded planes and made main roadways impassable, The New York Instances reported.
The cancellations are simply the newest hurdle within the vaccine rollout, which had lastly been ramping up in latest weeks. A median of about 1.7 million folks have been getting a shot every day, the Instances reported.
Most of the closures and cancellations have been within the South, the place the storm despatched temperatures plummeting to record-breaking lows. The South can be the place a number of states are lagging in COVID-19 vaccinations. On Monday, vaccine appointments have been rescheduled or canceled from Texas to Alabama to Kentucky, the Instances reported.
The storm’s influence stretched past the South, nonetheless. Well being officers in Washington State, the place the storm has come and gone, mentioned they’re dialing down vaccination plans for later this week as a result of they anticipate delays in supply of doses, the Instances reported. And Missouri Gov. Mike Parson mentioned Monday that vaccine distributions run by the state can be canceled for the remainder of the week.
“Missouri is experiencing severe winter weather that makes driving dangerous and threatens the health and safety of anyone exposed to the cold,” he mentioned in an announcement. “These conditions will also likely delay some vaccine shipments. We want to protect the safety of everyone involved in the mass vaccination events, from the patients being vaccinated to the volunteers who generously support these events.”
The vaccination delays are more likely to develop because the storm continues to maneuver throughout the nation. Energy outages have affected thousands and thousands of individuals in Texas, Oregon, Virginia, Kentucky and elsewhere, the Instances reported.
In Alabama, hospitals have closed vaccination clinics, as have greater than two dozen county well being departments. In New Hampshire, state officers mentioned all Tuesday vaccination appointments can be canceled or rescheduled.
Final week, the Biden administration introduced it had secured sufficient vaccine doses to inoculate each American grownup, with an extra 200 million extra doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines lined up by the top of summer time for a complete of 600 million. Each require two doses per particular person.
Many People nonetheless will not have been vaccinated by then, Biden mentioned, due to logistical hurdles akin to overburdened native well being departments. Now, well being officers can add dangerous climate to that listing of hurdles.
Extra proof that British COVID variant could also be extra lethal
Whilst efforts to vaccinate People acquire steam, extra proof has emerged that means a coronavirus variant already identified to unfold quicker can be more likely to be extra lethal.
The B.1.1.7 variant, which is assumed to have originated in Britain, is already firmly entrenched in America and will quickly grow to be the dominant pressure, based on Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
Talking Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” she mentioned “we know now that, or we estimate now that about 4% of disease in this country is related to B.1.1.7,” she mentioned. “And we have projections that it may be the dominant strain by the end of March.”
As of Tuesday, there have been 1,173 circumstances of the British variant present in 40 U.S. states, based on the CDC.
Walensky’s warning got here on the heels of analysis launched by British scientists that exhibits B.1.1.7 is perhaps extra more likely to set off extra deadly circumstances of COVID-19.
The brand new examine was posted Friday on a U.Ok. authorities web site. The scientists careworn that, as has at all times been the case, the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 circumstances aren’t deadly, and their new analysis relies on solely a small proportion of deaths in Britain.
Nonetheless, “the overall picture is one of something like a 40 to 60 percent increase in hospitalization risk, and risk of death,” Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist and scientific adviser to the British authorities, instructed the Instances on Saturday.
B.1.1.7 is thought to have unfold to at the very least 82 international locations and is considered transmitted between 35 and 45 p.c extra simply than different variants of coronavirus already present in america, the Instances mentioned.
The British workforce first signaled greater than a month in the past that they thought there was a “realistic possibility” that B.1.1.7 may additionally be extra deadly, primarily based on a small quantity of preliminary knowledge. With extra knowledge now in hand, they are saying they’ve a 55 to 75 p.c diploma of confidence within the newest discovering.
Precisely why the variant causes extra demise is not clear. It may trigger larger viral hundreds throughout the physique, making remedy more durable. Muge Cevik, an infectious illness skilled on the College of St. Andrews in Scotland and a scientific adviser to the British authorities, instructed the Instances the variant can also “transmit disproportionately in settings with frailer people,” akin to nursing properties, as a result of it’s extra transmissible.
Vaccines already being distributed in america are believed to be efficient towards B.1.1.7, so Walensky mentioned it is crucial that the huge rollout already underway continues. On the identical time, and within the face of different new variants, different steps are underway, she instructed CBS.
Pharmaceutical firms are tweaking their analysis to combat the B.1.1.7 variant, she mentioned, and the CDC is monitoring how individuals who’ve already gotten the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are faring.
“But we’re not waiting for that,” she mentioned. “We’re doing the science to scale up different vaccines in case we either need bivalent vaccines, that is a vaccine that has two different strains, or booster vaccines. Both are happening.”
By Tuesday, almost 52.9 million People have been vaccinated, with 70 million doses distributed. Greater than 14 million folks have gotten their second shot, based on the CDC.
Within the meantime, she mentioned, People have to proceed with tried-and-true methods of curbing viral unfold akin to social distancing and mask-wearing.
“So what I would say is now is the time to not let up our guard. Now is the time to double down, still with 100,000 cases a day, still with over two and a half times the cases we had over the summer,” Walensky mentioned.
A worldwide scourge
By Tuesday, the U.S. coronavirus case rely handed 27.7 million whereas the demise toll handed 486,000, based on a Instances tally. On Tuesday, the highest 5 states for coronavirus infections have been: California with almost 3.5 million circumstances; Texas with greater than 2.5 million circumstances; Florida with over 1.8 million circumstances; New York with greater than 1.5 million circumstances; and Illinois with over 1.1 million circumstances.
Curbing the unfold of the coronavirus in the remainder of the world stays difficult.
In India, the coronavirus case rely was almost 10.9 million by Tuesday, a Johns Hopkins College tally confirmed. Brazil had over 9.8 million circumstances and greater than 239,700 deaths as of Tuesday, the Hopkins tally confirmed.
Worldwide, the variety of reported infections handed 109.2 million on Tuesday, with greater than 2.4 million deaths recorded, based on the Hopkins tally.
The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has extra on the new coronavirus.
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