“Use it or lose it!” Biden warns he will send their unused vaccines to parts of the country that want them – as the daily vaccination rate has been dropping to its lowest point since February.
- The White House told governors that states that don’t use their full vaccination allocation will be redistributed to other states where there is more demand.
- The first change in vaccine distribution since Biden took office is to help deal with supply and demand of the shot in different parts of the country.
- In recent weeks, many states such as Iowa and Arkansas have seen large amounts of doses not being distributed
- Stark contrast to earlier this year, where most states found it nearly impossible to stock the vaccine
The White House told governors Tuesday morning it will begin redistributing vaccine doses from states where they remain unused to other areas of higher demand as the number of new injections administered has fallen to its lowest point in three months.
First the new procedure reported by The Washington Post, ensures that unused doses are not transferred on a weekly basis and are instead added to a federal bank available to states where demand is greater than supply.
States that do not refuse or decline their full allotment within a week will not lose it permanently and will only have to hand over their doses to the government once.
The initial distribution will still depend on the adult population in each state.
In recent weeks, many states have seen large quantities of those doses not be distributed – unlike earlier this year, where most states found it nearly impossible to keep up with supply to meet demand.
Joe Biden told governors on Tuesday that states that don’t use their full vaccination allocation will be redistributed to other states where there is more demand.
The number of vaccines distributed on Monday, May 3, was the lowest since the end of February
Arkansas officials confirmed they rejected their full share of vaccine doses last week, and this week Iowa rejected nearly three-quarters of the doses available to the state, claiming demand for the injections there remains weak.
Coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Jeff Zients, said the changes in distribution show that the government is focusing on making shots available to anyone who would like to get vaccinated.
He said 80 percent of people over 65 have received at least one dose and underlined that the next vaccination campaign will aim to build confidence in the vaccine and improve access.
“There is a need for more flexibility in the current system,” Zients told the Post, adding people willing to travel long distances.
Weekly distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is based on the US adult population by state
Immunizations have been on a steady rise since December, peaking in March and April as the administration improved its distribution strategy and messaging for some hesitant communities.
On May 3, the number of vaccines administered nationwide hit a low not seen since late February.
The seven-day average of daily admissions is down 17 percent over the past week and 33 percent since April 13.
In areas such as the Northeast Coast, the West Coast and the Rust Belt, higher percentages of the population have been vaccinated.
States of greater hesitation, which tend to turn red, have much lower percentages of inoculated individuals despite having much smaller populations.
The White House is struggling with the “use it or lose it” strategy that came out and was a way of punishing states or choosing winners and losers.
However, it is strongly committed to population-based distribution.
Notably, the government rejected Democratic Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer’s plea to pump vaccines to her state as it faced an increase in the number of cases in March and April.
Previous guidelines allowed pharmacies to reassign 20 percent of their state’s vaccine allocation, while new rules allow pharmacies to control where as many as 50 percent of doses go.