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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Vaccine doses are scarce across America as U.K. strain emerges

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Southern California has opened more sites to administer a COVID-19 vaccine that’s become increasingly difficult to find. In Los Angeles County, health officials have warned that without more vaccine shipments, the county won’t be fully vaccinated until next year. 

As of Saturday night, vaccination sites across the country have closed doors and canceled appointments as frustration mounts over supply problems. 

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The vaccine crisis comes as scientists worry that a new, more infectious, U.K. strain could become dominant in the United States.

This week, Jeff Wilson’s Pittsburgh drug store administered its last dose, not knowing when the state would deliver more. He said, “I asked for 1,000 doses and they couldn’t give me any kind of answer.”

In Texas, receiving doses is like playing the lottery. 

A healthcare worker prepares to administer the COVID-19 vaccine

“Unfortunately we don’t have enough to give to every provider in the state, every week. And so we do have to pick and choose,” said Chris Von Deusen with the Texas Department of Health Services.

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New York’s stockpile has run dry, and in Florida, where there were no rules to keep temporary snowbirds from getting shots, the governor has told non-residents to go elsewhere. 

Florida governor Ron DeSantis said they aren’t getting enough vaccine. “We have places that can do more and we want them to do more and we want them to do more,” DeSantis said. 

Vaccine super sites, like the one at Charlotte Motor Speedway, have helped drive efforts to distribute the vaccine. The need is urgent: Other highly contagious strains have now been detected, and healthcare workers worry about receiving their second dose.  

Nikkema Taylor, a healthcare worker, said is she feeling “so much frustration and so much anxiety, but I trusted the officials. I was like, OK, I am a healthcare worker. I have been going to work every day. COVID is going crazy, but applying for the second vaccine has been crazy.”

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This will be a critical week for California – the CDC says that the state is nearly dead last in percentage of shots used.

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