Health experts have said that despite many lucrative offers such as lottery winnings, amusement park tickets, and cold hard cash, many people in the US have left tens of millions of doses of COVID19 shots unused. The government officials have said that around 53 million doses of COVID19 vaccines are sitting on the shelves unused. The officials are waiting for orders placed by the states. It is a staggering amount of vaccine supply that can offer immunity against the virus to nearly 25 million people depending upon the type of the vaccine. Apart from this surplus amount of unused vaccine doses at the federal level, an unknown amount of vaccine doses as well is waiting for people at vaccination sites and pharmacies in states like Idaho, Wyoming, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. These states have reported the lowest rate of vaccination so far. This potential glut of doses has surfaced at a time when low-income countries around the world are still struggling to vaccinate their citizens. Poor countries across the world are in dire need of vaccines to immunize their healthcare workers and elderly populations. As per the reports, only 0.3 percent of the vaccine supply is going to these low-income nations. Arkansas GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson has advised the officials of the White House that they have a surplus vaccine supply that might be expiring soon and can be shared with other countries as well. On the other hand, the Biden administration has said that the number of wasted or unused doses of vaccine is quite low. The officials from the White House have said that that the vast majority of vaccine supplies are not going to be expired soon.
Health experts have said that the rising surplus vaccine supply is a new quandary for the US government. It has happened earlier as well when the government has been struggling to procure enough vaccine doses to vaccinate every citizen living in the US. Now, around 60 percent of the adult population in the US has been given at least one dose of the shot but the pace of vaccination in the US has reduced by half in the past few weeks, it has been 1.7 million doses per day. Meanwhile, global outbreaks of new variants of coronavirus have raised concerns over the effectiveness of the vaccines. Health experts have said that variants of concern (VOCs) might leave vaccinated individuals vulnerable to infection. The director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Stephen Morrison has said that the US might have an awkward surplus of vaccine supply. Earlier, he has predicted that nearly 30 percent of people in the US will refuse to take the vaccine. Morrison has claimed that ensuring any US recovery is long-lasting before redirecting supply will be the primary concern for the US government. He has said that at the same time, wildfire has been raging beyond our borders that as well needs to be addressed properly before it comes back to trouble the government. The US government has promised a $4 billion fund to Covax in the global vaccine effort. The Biden government has pledged to donate around 20 million doses of COVID19 vaccines that are currently available in the US by the end of June this year. It will be a small fraction of 800 million doses the US government has planned to buy from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. As per the report, the US government will be buying around 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID19 vaccine that is being used overseas but has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US yet.
Andy Slavitt, who is an advisor to the President on the COVID19 federal response, has said that the government is acting promptly on managing the vaccine supply more tightly. On the other hand, he has indicated that the primary focus of the government will remain to vaccinate people at malls and schools and every American who is using mobile clinics. The country will need much of the shots that are being purchased to develop booster shots and to vaccinate kids who are in the age range of 11 years and below, once they are eligible for vaccination. Andy Slavitt has clearly said that first, we need to vaccinate every citizen in the country with the doses, the government has procured so far, and it will be a way to return to normalcy and a path to better health. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the global imbalance in vaccine supply will unfold a moral catastrophe. He has advised the wealthiest countries to donate more doses of vaccines instead of immunizing their kids and teenagers as they are relatively at lower risk of the virus. Some experts have said that there is nothing wrong with vaccinating own citizens in the first place before helping other countries. They have said that the US cannot help other countries if it is still caught up in a pandemic situation. The fall of the International vaccine program Covax as well has complicated the matter. The program has stumbled badly as it has heavily relied on India to produce the vaccine, the country that is struggling to manage its own COVID19 outbreaks at present.