US has enough COVID-19 vaccines for boosters, kids' shotsSunday, September 26, 2021
MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) — With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, US health authorities said they're confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.
The spike in demand — expected following last week's federal recommendation on booster shots — would be the first significant jump in months.
Federal and state health authorities said current supply and steady production of more doses can easily accommodate those seeking boosters or initial vaccination, avoiding a repeat of the frustratingly slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the country early this year.
Robust supply in the US enabled President Joe Biden this week, to promise an additional 500 million of Pfizer's COVID-19 shots to share with the world, doubling the United States' global contribution. Aid groups and health organisations have pushed the US and other countries to improve vaccine access in countries where even the most vulnerable people haven't had a shot.
That balancing act is tricky and can lead to consternation around the globe as the U.S. sits on unused vaccines while many countries in places such as Africa can't get enough vaccines.
“Somebody sitting in a country with few resources to access vaccines, seeing people in the U.S. able to walk into a pharmacy and get that vaccine and choosing not to, I'm sure that's causing heartache,” said Jen Kates, senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation.
State health officials said they have tried to request only what health care providers and pharmacies expect to need from the federal supply.
But US officials — holding out hope that some of the unvaccinated will change their minds — are trying to keep enough vaccines in stock so all Americans can get them.