Idaho was set to receive 17,550 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the week of Dec. 21. On Wednesday, the state learned it will only receive 9,750 doses for that week.
BOISE, Idaho — The number of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine expected to arrive in Idaho next week has been significantly reduced, with the state set to receive 44% less than the expected amount, according to the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare.
“It is disappointing. I am not going to sugarcoat that, but we know we are going to get doses week by week,” said Chair of Idaho’s COVID 19 Vaccine Advisory Committee, Dr. Patrice Burgess. “So hopefully, there will be some catch-up process so we will just keep sticking to our plan and we might be delayed by a week but hopefully not much longer.”
Idaho was expected to receive 17,550 doses of the Pfizer vaccine through Operation Warp Speed for the week of Dec. 21. On Wednesday, the IDHW learned the state would only be receiving 9,750 doses of the vaccine.
No explanation was given as to why the number of vaccines was dramatically reduced.
“I’m assuming that they did some sort of redistribution based on need, based on numbers that they were seeing in that first week as we are starting to immunize,” Burgess said.
The vaccine rollout is a fluid plan that changes constantly based on need and how many healthcare workers are willing to accept the vaccine. With the Moderna vaccine potentially coming to Idaho next week and extra doses found in the Pfizer vaccine, Burgess isn’t too concerned about the reduction in next week’s shipment.
“There was a discovery when we got the Pfizer vaccine that when you follow the proper instructions, there are actually about seven doses per vile rather than five, so that really expanded our capacity from what we thought we were getting,” she said.
Burgess noted that if the reduction causes any delay she predicts, the state’s vaccine rollout plan to be delayed by a week, but no longer than that.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little responded to the statewide cutback, calling on Idahoans to remain vigilant in the fight against the virus.
“The distribution of the vaccine is a breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19. For now, our limited supply of the vaccine is prioritized for our front-line health care workers and most vulnerable citizens,” Little said in a statement. “We recognize there is a great demand for this life-saving tool, and we expect changes and evolution when it comes to managing supply. The COVID-19 vaccine continues to arrive in Idaho, and I urge Idahoans to be patient with the distribution. Though this is an outstanding step forward in the fight against the COVID-19 virus, we must remain vigilant in our defense. We must continue to wear masks, avoid gatherings, and keep safe physical distance to protect lives as we await widespread distribution of the vaccine.”
A majority of this week’s 13,650 Pfizer vaccine doses still haven’t arrived in Idaho, but are expected to arrive by Thursday or Friday.
Pfizer, one of the companies that manufactured the COVID-19 vaccine, issued a statement of the reduction on Thursday:
“Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed. This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them. We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses.
“We have continuously shared with Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through weekly meetings every aspect of our production and distribution capabilities. They have visited our facilities, walked the production lines and been updated on our production planning as information has become available.
“Pfizer has a successful and long track record of producing and distributing large volumes of complex vaccines that the world can trust – and we are continuing to extend this track record with our COVID-19 vaccine. Over the last several months, we have activated Pfizer’s extensive manufacturing network, including thousands of highly skilled workers in multiple locations. As a result, Pfizer is manufacturing and readying for release millions of doses each day, and that volume will grow over the coming weeks.
“We remain confident in our ability to deliver up to 50 million doses globally this year and up to 1.3 billion next year, and we look forward to continuing to work with the US Government to deliver our vaccine to the American people.”
In Washington, officials were alerted to a 40% cut by the Centers for Disease Control. All states are seeing similar cuts, according to Inslee, calling it “disruptive and frustrating.”
“We need accurate, predictable numbers to plan and ensure on-the-ground success,” Inslee tweeted, adding, “No explanation was given.”
Approximately 60,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Washington this week. Another 160,000 were expected by the end of the month.
With a total of approximately 222,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and an anticipated 180,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, state officials were hoping to vaccinate around 400,000 people by the end of December.
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