The White House Just Confirmed This Grim COVID Rumor
An official addressed this speculation after receiving "several questions" about it.
False information has spread rampantly throughout the course of the pandemic, with the development of a COVID vaccine fueling further misconceptions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been quick to shut down rumors that may increase people's anxiety during an unprecedented time, but it turns out one piece of previously unconfirmed news is actually true. The White House has now acknowledged a concerning situation regarding the country's vaccine supply. Read on to find out what officials have revealed, and for more troubling news, COVID Researchers Just Issued Their Bleakest 2021 Prediction Yet.
The White House said there is currently no vaccine stockpile.
During a Jan. 27 White House briefing, Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 response team, confirmed that the administration under President Joe Biden is not currently in possession of a vaccine stockpile.
"We've gotten several questions on this so I want to be clear, as you heard us announce yesterday, any stockpile that may have existed previously, no longer exists," Slavitt said. Instead, he said the White House is maintaining "a rolling inventory of two to three days of supply that we can use to supplement any shortfalls in production and to ensure that we are making deliveries as committed." And for more vaccine news, Dr. Fauci Says He Had These Side Effects From His Second Vaccine Dose.
This news comes after the previous administration promised to release a reserve of second vaccine doses.
Initially, the previous administration under former President Donald Trump said they would hold back second vaccine doses to prevent any issues with distribution of the two-dose COVID vaccine, which requires several weeks between shots. But as the Trump administration was reaching the end of its term, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced on Jan. 12 that they were reversing this stance and would begin releasing the remaining doses from the stockpile.
Three days later, The Washington Post reported that no such reserve actually existed. Instead, the administration had reportedly already begun shipping out what was available for these second doses at the end of December. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Some states have already run out of their vaccine supply.
The confusion over vaccine supply has left several states in troubling situations. On Jan. 20, New York City had to cancel at least 23,000 vaccine appointments because they had run low on supplies for first doses, Politico reported. Michigan hospitals also reported having to cancel appointments, while states like Colorado and Ohio scaled back eligibility for vaccines in an effort to not run out of their doses too soon.
"There's just no trust in the allocation system, and I think you see that at the county level, too," Claire Hannan, MPH, the executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, explained to Politico. And for more news on containing coronavirus, This Over-the-Counter Medication Can Kill COVID, Study Says.
This means it will likely be months before most people can get a vaccine.
Slavitt said that the administration is currently "passing doses directly along to states very much in real-time as they order them." However, he also admitted that one of the major factors currently affecting vaccine distribution is getting sufficient supply quickly enough. President Biden announced plans on Jan. 26 to purchase an additional 200 million combined doses of Pfizer and Moderna's COVID vaccines, but even that will take time to produce—which means many may be left waiting for the chance to get the vaccine.
"We are taking action to increase supply and increase capacity, but even so, it will be months before everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one," Slavitt said. And for more on the current state of the pandemic, This Is How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.