Operation Warp Speed leaders work to get more vaccines to states

Changes are coming to how Florida and the rest of the 50 states get the coronavirus vaccine. We looked into how this will affect everyone.

Operation Warp Speed leaders want to send more vaccines to states that have larger populations of those who are 65 and older. Florida falls into that category. But the State will only get added doses of the vaccines if it can prove it will get into people’s arms fast.

“We’re seeing the post-holiday surge, surge,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said publicly.

That surge is here in Florida.

In less than a week, the State reported another 100,000 coronavirus cases, bringing its total to 1.5 million people infected.

To pull us and the rest of the country out of this hole, Operation Warp Speed is making a change.

“We believe it is critically important at this time to get those most vulnerable people as quickly as we can into vaccination programs, as a key strategy to maintain hospital resilience,” Redfield said.

“This next phase reflects the urgency of the situation we face,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said publicly. “That every vaccine dose that is sitting in a warehouse rather than going into an arm could mean one more life lost or one more hospital bed occupied.”

The federal government says we have enough supply to meet the demand. We have more vaccines than we need for frontline health care workers and seniors in long-term care facilities.

“We clearly have enough vaccine at this point to begin to expand and get more and more of the vulnerable individuals in our country vaccinated,” Redfield said.

But production is only part of the puzzle. Slow-acting states are another piece.

To get the doses out, Operation Warp Speed leaders say states need to step up distribution.

“We will be allocating them based on the pace of administration as reported by states and by the size of the 65 and over population in each state,” Azar said.

According to the latest vaccine report, Florida has only administered 46% of the vaccine it already has on hand.

The states have two weeks to improve their reporting and get more shots in arms, starting with 65 plus, but then adding people with underlying health conditions.

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Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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