On Thursday, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel of outside experts voted to approve providing an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The agency is expected to complete the creation of the EUA on Friday, which would free up shipments of the vaccine to get on their way across the country this weekend. But they may have to get in line, because the first vaccine that was approved is already failing to reach states in the quantities expected.
Despite months of listening to Donald Trump brag about the incredible military operation he had put together to distribute a vaccine that did not then exist, states are suddenly discovering that the shipments they were expecting have been drastically reduced without explanation. Meanwhile Pfizer seems just as confused—it says there are millions of doses sitting in its warehouse ready to go, but Trump’s team is allowing them to gather dust.
As Bloomberg reports, some states were informed on Wednesday that their supply of Pfizer’s vaccine would be cut drastically. For Oregon, that means a 40% drop in the 74,000 doses they had been expecting. Gov. Kate Brown tweeted that this was a federal decision made through “Operation Warp Speed.” Oregon is not alone. As The Washington Post reports, officials in multiple states were alerted that their shipments of the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech would be “drastically cut” for next week.
Notices that they would not be getting what they were earlier told was on the way went out to at least six states. That list includes Illinois, Washington, and Maine, in addition to Oregon. Meanwhile, Florida officials seem to have lost their shipments of vaccine altogether, saying they disappeared from the online shipping system.
The changes in available doses are forcing states to scramble to change plans and cancel events at which workers at hospitals and nursing homes were expected to receive the vaccine. Some states were also going to begin giving the vaccine to nursing home residents, but those plans are on hold following the reduction in numbers.
A statement for Operation Warp Speed blamed states for “requesting an expedited timeline.” But on Thursday Pfizer put out a statement making it clear: “We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses.”
The sudden change in availability would be less suspicious had Trump not spent so much time touting the supposed military efficiency of his distribution system. And a lot less suspicious had Trump not spent the spring threatening governors over the availability of personal protective equipment and respirators.
“I want them to be appreciative,” said Trump. He also stated that he had told Mike Pence not to call the governors of Washington or Michigan because they were not supportive enough of Trump. “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” said Trump.
It seems highly coincidental that at least three of the states now being shortchanged on vaccine—Washington, Oregon, and Illinois—are precisely the same states that Trump complained about not being supportive earlier. That includes calling Washington Gov. Jay Inslee “a snake” for criticizing Trump’s handling of the pandemic in March, and repeated attacks on Gov. Brown over her handling of protests during the summer.
As the Moderna vaccine becomes available over the next week, it should begin addressing shortages. However, that doesn’t make Operation Warp Speed seem any more effective. When they’ve literally been preparing for this moment for the last 10 months, it seems odd for them to be so … unprepared.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.