States Turn Down Hundreds of Thousands of Vaccine Doses

Carolyn Crist

May 10, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Several states are beginning to turn down some of the COVID-19 vaccine doses from their federal allocations as demand drops across the country, according to The New York Times.

The drop represents hundreds of thousands of doses and appears to be widespread nationwide. Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington scaled back on vaccine requests for next week, the newspaper reported.

Each week, the federal government allocates vaccines to each state based on population size, and then state officials determine how many doses to order.

Iowa asked for 29% of the state's allocated doses for next week, according to The Associated Press. Wisconsin asked for about 8% of its doses, and Illinois asked for 9% of its doses, except for those allocated to Chicago.

Not all states are scaling back, the AP reported. Colorado and Maryland are still ordering the full amount, as well as New York City.

The U.S. has administered more than 257 million doses so far, according to the latest CDC tally updated on Saturday. About 58% of the adult population has received at least one dose, and 43% of adults are considered fully vaccinated.

The seven-day average of administered doses fell below 2 million daily doses on Saturday for the first time since March 2, the CDC reported. The slowdown was expected, according to CNN.

"We knew that we would have a lot of supply by the end of April, early May," Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, told CNN.

"But we also knew that this would be the time that we have people who were more hesitant, that people wouldn't be rushing to be getting a vaccine," she said.

President Joe Biden has set a goal of giving at least one shot to 70% of the adult population by July 4. As of Saturday, four states — Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Vermont — have met the goal, CNN reported.

To reach the goal nationwide, Biden announced this week that federal officials will expand mobile vaccination clinics to underserved communities and offer incentives, such as discounts for shoppers who get vaccinated at grocery stories, the AP reported. Public health officials are also looking for new ways to address vaccine hesitancy and the misinformation around vaccines.

"I think we need to be very patient and continue to allow people in those communities to hear from people they trust," Andy Slavitt, the White House senior adviser for COVID-19, told CNN on Saturday.

"If you're not sure if you want to get vaccinated, my advice is just to ask your doctor or ask your pharmacist what they think, or ask someone you know who's been vaccinated," he said. "I think that will help you make a decision about whether or not you want to get vaccinated."

Sources

The New York Times: "U.S. states are turning down hundreds of thousands of doses as demand plummets."

The Associated Press: "States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes."

CDC: "COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States."

CNN: "The average number of Covid-19 vaccines administered dipped below 2 million per day."

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