Shortly after Joe Biden's inauguration last week, sources told CNN that outgoing president Donald Trump had left the incoming administration with little or no vaccine distribution plan. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's coronavirus czar, almost immediately pushed back on the report. During a January 21 press briefing, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases asserted, "You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all."
Well isn't that a ringing endorsement. Fauci would offer more reassuring words in short order, mentioning that the public would soon "see a real ramping up" of the vaccine rollout under our new president.
Yesterday, we got a glimpse of what he was talking about. On Tuesday the Biden administration announced that it would bump up states' vaccine allocations by 16 percent beginning next week. Governor Jay Inslee heralded the good news in an afternoon press conference, noting that the state would also receive special syringes to extract an extra dose out of every vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Perhaps most importantly, the federal government guaranteed the extra doses of the Pfizer and NIH-Moderna vaccines for the next three weeks. "Our providers have been bedeviled with uncertainty and unpredictability of the delivery schedules,” Inslee said.
The higher allotment of the Pfizer and NIH-Moderna vaccines come as the state mobilizes to reach its goal of administering 45,000 doses per day. Though the seven-day average still trails that number considerably, Inslee produced some recent 24-hour totals that approach the target. The state opened mass vaccination sites in Kennewick, Ridgefield, Spokane, and Wenatchee this week that should expedite the rollout.
The facilities require appointments, which could pose a hurdle; reservations have provided logistical headaches for many providers in the rollout thus far. Inslee said that vaccine-seekers should not be double-booking to ensure slots. He also condemned any VIP access to appointments. The Seattle Times reported on Tuesday that some donors received an email from Overlake Medical Center and Clinics that gave them an access code to slots. The organization admitted it was a mistake and nixed the special access. "I’m told whatever they were doing has stopped," Inslee said.