Today's Edition News Sports Obits Digital FAQ Events Contests Classifieds Autos Jobs Newsletters Search
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2021, file photo, a nursing home resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine by a CVS Pharmacist at Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility in Harlem neighborhood of New York. The push to inoculate Americans against the coronavirus is hitting a roadblock: A number of states are reporting they are running out of vaccine, and tens of thousands of people who managed to get appointments for a first dose are seeing them canceled.(AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

NEW YORK (AP) — The push to inoculate Americans against the coronavirus is hitting a roadblock: A number of states are reporting they are running out of vaccine, and tens of thousands of people who managed to get appointments for a first dose are seeing them canceled.

Karen Stachowiak, a first-grade teacher in the Buffalo area, spent almost five hours on the state hotline and website to land an appointment for Wednesday, only to be told it was canceled. The Erie County Health Department said it scratched vaccinations for more than 8,000 people in the past few days because of inadequate supply.

"It's stressful because I was so close. And my other friends that are teachers, they were able to book appointments for last Saturday," Stachowiak said. "So many people are getting theirs in, and then it's like, 'Nope, I've got to wait.'"

The reason for the apparent mismatch between supply and demand in the U.S. was unclear, but last week the Health and Human Services Department suggested states had unrealistic expectations for how much vaccine was on the way.

In any case, new shipments go out every week, and the government and the drugmakers have said there are large quantities in the pipeline.

The shortages are coming as states ramp up vaccination drives, at the federal government's direction, to reach people 65 and older, along with certain others. More than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. have been blamed on the virus.

President Joe Biden, who was inaugurated Wednesday, immediately came under pressure to fix things. He has made it clear his administration will take a stronger hand in attacking the crisis, and he vowed to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days.

Less than half of the 36 million doses distributed to the states by the federal government have been administered so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public health officials have said the gap could reflect recordkeeping delays as well as disarray and other failings at various levels of government in actually getting shots into arms.

In a statement, HHS said jurisdictions actually received about a 5 percent increase in vaccine allocations this week from what they got in the past couple of weeks.

Countries across Europe are also having problems getting enough doses to provide protection against a virus that is now appearing in new, more contagious variants around the globe.

Pfizer said last week it would temporarily reduce deliveries to Europe and Canada while it upgrades capacity at its plant in Belgium, which supplies all shots delivered outside the United States. Pfizer's primary site for manufacturing vaccine for the U.S. is in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In the U.S., some states have suggested they may run out by today and are unclear when new doses will arrive.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the city had to cancel 23,000 appointments for people awaiting their first dose this week. The New York Police Department suspended first-shot vaccinations for its officers.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he expects the state to exhaust its supply of vaccine within two or three days for people seeking their first dose.

"What's clear now is we'll be going from week to week, and you will see a constant pattern of basically running out, waiting for the next week's allocation, and starting up again," he said. He urged health care facilities not to schedule appointments to dispense vaccine they haven't been allocated yet.

In a statement, Moderna said it is on track to deliver 100 million doses by the end of the first quarter of the year and 200 million by the end of the second quarter.

Pfizer, the maker of the other vaccine used in the U.S., said it duly filled the government's orders over the past two weeks. It said it is working around the clock to produce millions more doses each day and foresees no problems in meeting its commitment to deliver 200 million by the end of July.

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with our commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. Our commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT