Last week, some state health officials announced that they would make coronavirus vaccines available to a wider range of people, but that's not going to be an option for some if not all of them.
State officials announced those plans after the Trump regime said they would release the stockpile of doses reserved for the second dose of the two dose vaccine, but there is no stockpile.
When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses that had been held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available, starting at the end of December, taking second doses for the two-dose regimen directly off the manufacturing line.
Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will remain largely flat, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others were still in the dark Friday.
My initial reaction to this was to ask whether this means people won't receive their second dose if all of the doses reserved for it are gone, but the Washington Post reports that people waiting for their second dose will stay in the front of the line as vaccines are shipped to each state. In any case, that means states cannot expand access as widely as they expected to.
The incoming Biden administration's transition team said they would release the stockpile of doses reserved for the second dose, but they evidently didn't know the stockpile was already exhausted. State health officials were just informed on Friday night.
The Washington Post reports that Trump's "Operation Warp Speed" actually stocked stockpiling Pfizer's vaccine before Christmas but apparently neglected to tell anyone. They didn't tell states, they didn't tell the transition team, they didn't tell the public, and it seems clear that some members of the Trump regime were also unaware.
Perhaps it's not a coincidence that HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced his resignation on Saturday. Azar cited the attack on the capitol in his resignation, but promising to release vaccines that don't exist had to be immensely embarrassing.
Any genuine attempt to be a competent agency director was always an uphill battle under Trump whose White House micro-managed every program. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner probably knew the stockpile was exhausted even if Secretary Azar didn't.
Everyone who works with Trump is eventually humiliated.