UNITED STATES NEWS

US has enough COVID-19 vaccines for boosters, kids’ shots

Sep 26, 2021, 12:00 PM | Updated: Sep 27, 2021, 4:27 pm
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2021, file photo, Mayra Navarrete, 13, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine...

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2021, file photo, Mayra Navarrete, 13, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse, Noleen Nobleza at a clinic set up in the parking lot of CalOptima in Orange, Calif. With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they're confident both seniors and other vulnerable Americans seeking booster shots and parents anticipating approval of initial shots for young children will have easy access. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they’re confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.

The spike in demand — expected following last week’s federal recommendation on booster shots — would be the first significant jump in months. More than 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated despite the enticement of lottery prizes, free food or gifts and pleas from exhausted health care workers as the average number of deaths per day climbed to more than 1,900 in recent weeks.

Federal and state health authorities said current supply and steady production of more doses can easily accommodate those seeking boosters or initial vaccination, avoiding a repeat of the frustratingly slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the country early this year.

“I hope that we have the level of interest in the booster … that we need more vaccines,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday. “That’s simply not where we are today. We have plenty of vaccines.”

Robust supply in the U.S enabled President Joe Biden this week to promise an additional 500 million of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world, doubling the United States’ global contribution. Aid groups and health organizations have pushed the U.S. and other countries to improve vaccine access in countries where even the most vulnerable people haven’t had a shot.

Among the challenges states face is not ordering too many doses and letting them go to waste. Several states with low vaccination rates, including Idaho and Kansas, have reported throwing away thousands of expired doses or are struggling to use vaccines nearing expiration this fall.

While most vaccines can stay on the shelf unopened for months, once a vial is opened the clock starts ticking. Vaccines are only usable for six to 12 hours, depending on the manufacturer, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Moderna vaccines come in vials containing 11 to 15 doses. Pfizer vials contain up to six doses and Johnson & Johnson vials five doses.

“We are going to see more doses that go unused over time,” said Wisconsin’s health secretary, Karen Timberlake. “They come in multidose files. They don’t come in nice, tidy individual single-serving packages.”

State health officials said they have tried to request only what health care providers and pharmacies expect to need from the federal supply. Those numbers have dwindled since the vaccines became widely available in early spring.

But U.S. officials — holding out hope that some of the unvaccinated will change their minds — are trying to keep enough vaccines in stock so all Americans can get them.

That balancing act is tricky and can lead to consternation around the globe as the U.S. sits on unused vaccines while many countries in places such as Africa can’t get enough vaccines.

“Somebody sitting in a country with few resources to access vaccines, seeing people in the U.S. able to walk into a pharmacy and get that vaccine and choosing not to, I’m sure that’s causing heartache,” said Jen Kates, senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which represents the public health agencies of all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, said officials anticipate that on-hand doses of COVID-19 vaccines and manufacturers’ ability to supply more will meet needs across the country.

“I think states have tried to plan as if everybody’s going to be offered a booster,” he said, suggesting they will be overprepared for the more narrow recommendations issued by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California, for example, estimated earlier this month that it would need to administer an extra 63 million doses by the end of 2022 — if initial shots for children under 12 were approved and boosters were open to everyone.

U.S. health officials late Thursday endorsed booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for all Americans 65 and older — along with tens of millions of younger people who are at higher risk from the coronavirus because of health conditions or their jobs.

California, with nearly 40 million residents, has the lowest transmission rate of any state and nearly 70% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated. That leaves nearly 12 million people not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health secretary, said the state will rely largely on pharmacies and primary care providers to give boosters to seniors while some large counties and health care groups will use mass vaccination sites.

In Pennsylvania, more than 67% of residents older than 18 are fully vaccinated. Alison Beam, acting secretary of health, said health authorities now have “two missions”: Continuing to persuade people to get vaccinated and serving those eager to receive a booster or initial shots.

“Pennsylvania is going to be prepared,” Beam said. “And we’re going to have the right level of vaccine and vaccinators to be able to meet that demand.”

___

Foody reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; and Patty Nieberg in Denver contributed.

___

Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

FILE - Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is joined by family members of victims of racial injustice a...
Associated Press

Civil rights attorney seeks charges over inmate’s death

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A prominent civil rights attorney on Tuesday demanded that a South Carolina prosecutor revisit a case and criminally charge the two jail employees who stunned a mentally ill Black man 10 times and kneeled on his back until he stopped breathing. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson announced in July that the […]
13 hours ago
In this Thursday, April 2, 2020, file photo, a manatee comes up for air is it swims in the Stranaha...
Associated Press

Manatee deaths rise in Florida as pollutants kill seagrass

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Manatees have starved to death by the hundreds along Florida’s east coast because algae blooms and contaminants are killing the seagrass the beloved sea mammals eat, a wildlife official told a House committee Tuesday. Seagrass has been decimated in the 156-mile-long Indian River Lagoon and neighboring areas. The aquatic plant thrives […]
13 hours ago
A fire burns at the former Market Street Wharf late Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in New Orleans. The re...
Associated Press

Abandoned New Orleans wharf burns down; fireworks to blame?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The remains of an abandoned river wharf went up in flames over the weekend in New Orleans as fireworks went off nearby, but officials haven’t yet determined whether the display played a role in the enormous fire. The fireworks began around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, The Times Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate […]
13 hours ago
FILE - In this April 26, 2016, file photo, Michele Fiore participates in a Republican debate in Hen...
Associated Press

GOP firebrand Michele Fiore enters Nevada governor’s race

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Las Vegas city councilwoman who gained national attention for her support of armed militiamen who clashed with federal law officers during armed standoffs last decade said Tuesday she is running for governor of Nevada. Republican Michele Fiore announced her plan to run at a news conference at the Italian-American […]
13 hours ago
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes questions from reporters about the po...
Associated Press

Income test for Medicare dental under debate; gets pushback

WASHINGTON (AP) — For more than 55 years, Medicare has followed a simple policy: covered benefits are the same, no matter if you’re rich, poor, or in-between. But as Democrats try to design a dental benefit for the program, one idea calls for limiting it based on income. The so-called “means test” is drawing internal […]
13 hours ago
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2020, file photo, then-Pierce County Sheriff's Dept. spokesman Det. Ed Troy...
Associated Press

Washington sheriff charged over confrontation with Black man

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state attorney general on Tuesday filed two misdemeanor criminal charges against a county sheriff stemming from his confrontation with a Black newspaper carrier in January. Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer faces one count of false reporting and one count of making a false statement to a civil servant for […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
...
Albertsons

Grill like a pro this fall with tips from Albertsons

As the weather cools and football season kicks off, it’s a great time to fire up the grill and enjoy your favorite outdoor meals.
US has enough COVID-19 vaccines for boosters, kids’ shots