Pfizer and Moderna Pledge More US Vaccines
One of the many challenges of this winter has been tracking down coronavirus vaccines. Demand has outstripped supply, but not evenly. Distribution has been hampered by extreme weather and the special handling required. People are exchanging appointment tips on social media, driving a few towns over and even disguising themselves as older folks, as two people did in Florida last week.
Today, The Washington Post reports that Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) have told the U.S. Congress that they will be increasing the amount of vaccine available in the United States. They say that they will be able to produce and deliver a total of 140 million more vaccine doses by the end of March because of improved manufacturing efficiencies.
The production increase would allow for as many as 28 million vaccinations a week, a significant improvement from the current rate of about 7 million, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Allocations to the states and to pharmacy chains are expected to increase this week in an effort to get more shots into more arms, and ideally closer to where the demand is. Peoria is a nice town, but people from Chicago shouldn’t need to drive there to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
The larger number of vaccines will create its own problems, ranging from a shortage of people qualified to administer the larger number of shots to expanding the capacity of different scheduling systems. But wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate the anniversary of the pandemic shutdown with a shot in the arm?
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