A resident at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, receives the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacists in Brooklyn, New York, US.(REUTERS)
A resident at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, receives the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacists in Brooklyn, New York, US.(REUTERS)

Most US Covid-19 vaccines go idle as New York, Florida move to penalize hospitals

In New York, hospitals must administer vaccines within a week of receiving them or face a fine and a reduction in future supplies, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, hours before announcing the state’s first known case of a new, more infectious coronavirus variant originally detected in Britain.
By Reuters | Posted by Arpan Rai | New York
PUBLISHED ON JAN 05, 2021 07:07 AM IST

More than two-thirds of the 15 million coronavirus vaccines shipped within the United States have so far gone unused, US health officials said on Monday, as the governors of New York and Florida vowed to penalize hospitals that fail to dispense shots quickly enough.

In New York, hospitals must administer vaccines within a week of receiving them or face a fine and a reduction in future supplies, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, hours before announcing the state’s first known case of a new, more infectious coronavirus variant originally detected in Britain.

“I don’t want the vaccine in a fridge or a freezer, I want it in somebody’s arm,” the governor said. “If you’re not performing this function, it does raise questions about the operating efficiency of the hospital.”

New York hospitals on the whole have dispensed fewer than half of their allocated doses to date, but performance varied from one group of hospitals to another, Cuomo said. The NYC Health + Hospitals system, the city’s main public hospital network, has only administered 31% of its allotment, compared with 99% for a few private hospitals in the state.

In Florida, where officials have put senior citizens ahead of many essential workers for getting the vaccine, Governor Ron DeSantis announced a policy under which the state would allocate more doses to hospitals that dispense them most quickly,

“Hospitals that do not do a good job of getting the vaccine out will have their allocations transferred to hospitals that are doing a good job at getting the vaccine out,” DeSantis said at a briefing.

“We do not want vaccine to just be idle at some hospital system,” he added, although he did not say they would face fines.

Florida will also deploy an additional 1,000 nurses to administer vaccines and will keep state-run vaccination sites open seven days a week, he said.

UK VARIANT FOUND IN NEW YORK

Cuomo’s announcement that the more contagious COVID variant known as B.1.1.7 had been confirmed in a man in his 60s living in a town north of Albany gave new urgency to the state’s efforts to accelerate vaccinations.

At least three other US cases of the so-called UK variant have been documented since last week, one each in Florida, California and Colorado. None of the four patients has a recent travel history, meaning the variant was likely spreading person-to-person within each of the communities where it turned up.

Neither the UK variant, nor a similarly more contagious strain first found in South Africa, is believed any more lethal than the original form of the virus. Scientists say newly developed vaccines should be equally effective against both.

But medical experts worry that the emergence of a more communicable variant could accelerate a months-long surge of infections and hospitalizations already straining US healthcare systems to their limits.

The US death toll has climbed to well over 350,000 out of more than 20 million known infections to date, with the fatality rate averaging 2,600-plus lives every 24 hours over the past week.

The staggering human toll, together with an upending of daily social life and a stifling of economic activity, has made the slower-than-expected uptake of available vaccines all the more vexing to authorities.

‘WE HAVE TO DO BETTER’

Some of the problem has been attributed to widespread distrust of immunizations, even among some healthcare workers, owing in part to the record speed with which Covid-19 vaccines were developed and approved 11 months after the virus emerged in the United States.

But some U.S. officials also have cited a lack of adequate planning and logistical glitches in launching the most ambitious mass inoculation campaign in the nation’s history.

The federal government has distributed more than 15 million vaccine doses to states and territories across the country, but only around 4.5 million have been administered so far, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Monday.

Those figures put the government far short of its goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020, although officials said they expected the rollout would pick up significantly this month.

“We have go to do better, and we are going to keep doing better, and I promise you, you will see in the next two weeks numbers increase substantially,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBS News in an interview.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said New York and Florida were being “overly bureaucratic” in penalizing hospitals over vaccine deliveries even as they coped with soaring patient caseloads.

“Instead of fining hospitals, why not give them more resources to do this, more money, more staffing?” he said in a telephone interview.

New York has dispensed about 175,000 doses of the 896,000 it has received since mid-December, according to CDC data. Florida has dispensed 265,000 of the 1.14 million doses it received.

Monday also marked the first day when some Americans were due to receive their second vaccine shots, three weeks after getting the first. Among them was Maritza Beniquez, a healthcare worker in Newark, New Jersey.

“I now have body armor,” she said after receiving the dose in a video shared on Facebook by state officials.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The Central Council of Muslims in Switzerland called the vote a dark day for the community.(REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
The Central Council of Muslims in Switzerland called the vote a dark day for the community.(REUTERS FILE PHOTO)

Swiss agree to outlaw facial coverings in "burqa ban" vote

Reuters, Zurich
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 11:18 PM IST
The measure to amend the Swiss constitution passed by a 51.2-48.8% margin, provisional official results showed.
Close
In this photo made available Sunday March 7, 2021, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II poses for a photo while signing her annual Commonwealth Day Message inside St George's Hall at Windsor Castle, England, Friday March 5, 2021. (Steve Parsons/Pool via AP)(AP)
In this photo made available Sunday March 7, 2021, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II poses for a photo while signing her annual Commonwealth Day Message inside St George's Hall at Windsor Castle, England, Friday March 5, 2021. (Steve Parsons/Pool via AP)(AP)

Queen Elizabeth II stresses importance of friends, family during Covid pandemic

AP, London
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 11:15 PM IST
The queen also paid tribute to the front-line workers helping in the fight against Covid-19 in Commonwealth nations.
Close
"We're going in the right direction. We just need to hang in there a bit longer," Fauci told CBS.(REUTERS)
"We're going in the right direction. We just need to hang in there a bit longer," Fauci told CBS.(REUTERS)

Fauci upbeat on vaccinations for US teens by autumn, younger children next year

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters, Washington
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:57 PM IST
The decline in cases had begun to plateau at 60,000 to 70,000 new infections per day, which Fauci said was not acceptable.
Close
"She must be released permanently so she can return to her family in the UK, and we continue to do all we can to achieve this," Johnson said. (via Reuters)
"She must be released permanently so she can return to her family in the UK, and we continue to do all we can to achieve this," Johnson said. (via Reuters)

Britain will do all it can to secure permanent release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe: PM

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:52 PM IST
"Pleased to see the removal of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle tag, but her continued confinement remains totally unacceptable," Johnson said on Twitter.
Close
Monika Ruegsegger-Hurschler, National Councillor SVP, gives an interview at the meeting place of the supporters of the initiative to ban face coverings.(AP)
Monika Ruegsegger-Hurschler, National Councillor SVP, gives an interview at the meeting place of the supporters of the initiative to ban face coverings.(AP)

Swiss agree to outlaw facial coverings in 'burqa ban' vote

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters, Zurich
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:49 PM IST
The measure to amend the Swiss constitution passed by a 51.2-48.8% margin, provisional official results showed.
Close
In this file photo, a P-3C patrol plane of Japanese maritime self defense force flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China in the East China Sea. (AFP Photo)
In this file photo, a P-3C patrol plane of Japanese maritime self defense force flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China in the East China Sea. (AFP Photo)

Report says Japan planning to send armed forces to East China Sea

ANI, Tokyo
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:44 PM IST
The Chinese Coast Guard has expanded its presence in the contested water near the Diaoyu Islands, known in Japan as the Senkakus.
Close
Needing to vaccinate 200,000 people a day to reach its targets, it's not clear whether the government will get enough doses to have a quick enough impact to avoid a new lockdown.( REUTERS)
Needing to vaccinate 200,000 people a day to reach its targets, it's not clear whether the government will get enough doses to have a quick enough impact to avoid a new lockdown.( REUTERS)

France ramps up weekend Covid-19 vaccinations after slow start

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:29 PM IST
French authorities have come under criticism for the slow vaccination rollout, which has so far targeted the most vulnerable only. About 3.58 million people of France's 67 million population have received a first jab compared to neighbouring Britain, which is nearing 23 million.
Close
Jury selection begins March 8, 2021, for Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in George Floyd's death.(AP / File Photo)
Jury selection begins March 8, 2021, for Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in George Floyd's death.(AP / File Photo)

Key players in trial of ex-officer charged in George Floyd's death

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | AP, Minneapolis
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:24 PM IST
  • Chauvin's trial, one of the highest-profile criminal cases in Minnesota history, is taking place during a global pandemic that has had a dramatic impact.
Close
China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The foreign ministry said that anti-China politicians in the US have "undermined China's interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations".(REUTERS)
China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The foreign ministry said that anti-China politicians in the US have "undermined China's interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations".(REUTERS)

India, China friends, but ‘rights and wrongs’ of border friction clear: Wang Yi

By Sutirtho Patranobis
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 09:55 PM IST
  • India has consistently denied China’s allegation of provoking friction along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and have said that Chinese border troops were the first to trespass across the disputed boundary, triggering the faceoff and deaths of border troops on both sides.
Close
Moderna said it expected to reach a separate deal with the Philippines government and private sector to supply an additional 7 million doses.(Reuters file photo)
Moderna said it expected to reach a separate deal with the Philippines government and private sector to supply an additional 7 million doses.(Reuters file photo)

Moderna reaches supply deal with Philippines for 13 million vaccine doses

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:16 PM IST
The schedule refers to the 160 million doses procured by the EU in November, before a deal last month to buy an additional 150 million shots both this year and next.
Close
The bloc is slated to receive 10 million of the shots in the January-March period, with deliveries set to accelerate later in the year, the data show.(Reuters)
The bloc is slated to receive 10 million of the shots in the January-March period, with deliveries set to accelerate later in the year, the data show.(Reuters)

EU nations got a third of Moderna Covid-19 shots so far, data show

Posted by Srivatsan K C | Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 09:38 PM IST
Gergely Gulyas, the cabinet minister to Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary’s government, published the schedule in defense of a decision to opt out of additional purchases.
Close
Migrants who travelled to northern Mexico seeking asylum in the US are seen carrying empty water jugs at a migrant encampment in Matamoros.(REUTERS)
Migrants who travelled to northern Mexico seeking asylum in the US are seen carrying empty water jugs at a migrant encampment in Matamoros.(REUTERS)

Mexican camp that was symbol of migrant misery empties out under Biden

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters, Matamoros, Mexico
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 09:32 PM IST
President Joe Biden last month rolled back the program - known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) - that had forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico.
Close
An elderly homeless man is inoculated with the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by China's Sinovac laboratory, against the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, at the Samaritano de la Calle Foundation in Cali, Colombia, on March 3, 2021. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)(AFP)
An elderly homeless man is inoculated with the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by China's Sinovac laboratory, against the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, at the Samaritano de la Calle Foundation in Cali, Colombia, on March 3, 2021. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)(AFP)

Hong Kong: 4 people fall ill after receiving China's Sinovac Covid vaccine jabs

ANI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 09:29 PM IST
This means a total of 15 people have sought medical attention after receiving the vaccines over the past week, according to the government. Some 83,400 people had been vaccinated with the mainland-produced jabs as of Saturday, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Close
Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin answers questions during his confirmation before the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 19, 2021.(REUTERS)
Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin answers questions during his confirmation before the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 19, 2021.(REUTERS)

US will do what’s necessary to defend itself after attack in Iraq: Lloyd Austin

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 09:16 PM IST
Speaking on ABC's "This Week" program, Defense secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States is urging Iraq to quickly investigate the incident at the base located in western Anbar province and determine who was responsible. U.S. officials have said the incident fit the profile of a strike by Iran-backed militia.
Close
Public health experts tracking the trajectory of more contagious virus variants have warned that lifting restrictions too soon could lead to another lethal wave of infections.(AFP)
Public health experts tracking the trajectory of more contagious virus variants have warned that lifting restrictions too soon could lead to another lethal wave of infections.(AFP)

Workers worry about safety, stress as US states ease mask rules

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 09:09 PM IST
Many business owners on the Mississippi Gulf Coast were glad Gov. Tate Reeves decided to eliminate mask requirements, limits on seating in restaurants and most other binding restrictions.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP