Maine will receive 40% less of the Pfizer vaccine than it was promised in its shipment next week according to Dr. Nirav Shah. This reduction will slow down Phase 2 of the distribution of the vaccine to those in assisted living he said. Roughly fourteen other states are receiving a similar reduction in the amount of the vaccine as well with no explanation as to why.
Although the vials in which the vaccine is stored contain 20% more, perhaps due to “overfilling,” this will not offset the reduced amount of vaccine received from Operation Warp Speed according to Dr. Shah at his Friday afternoon briefing on the COVID-19. He said he would be speaking with a member of the feds distribution team tonight and that the reason for the reduction was a priority question for him.
National speculation has suggested that there is conflict between Trumpy’s administration and Pfizer, the manufacturer of the vaccine currently being distributed across the country. Maine had expected to receive 13,650 does of Pfizer and it has now been cut back to 8,775 – a reduction of more than 4,000 doses – a serious blow to the immunization program for Maine. Pfizer has said that it has millions of doses in its warehouses, but no addresses to which they should be sent.
As of today, 2,264 people have been immunized with the Pfizer vaccine in Maine.
The increase in the number of COVID-19 cases effective today is 436. Yesterday the number of increases in cases was 590 – an alarming number that sets a new record for increases in the number of daily cases.
Although the COVID-19 vaccine has been developed quickly, Dr. Shah emphasized there is no reason for concern because of that. No “corners were cut” he said. He cited several reasons for the expediency within which it has been developed. Because of the urgency, many billions of dollars were immediately available to finance the development of the vaccine that would not ordinarily be available so rapidly. Furthermore, the “blueprint” or infrastructure for vaccine development is well established. It does not have to be reinvented each time a vaccine needs to be developed. As an example, Dr. Shah cited that every year a new vaccine for the flu is developed. The new vaccine is based on the blueprint already established allowing new vaccines to be built upon that platform.
Dr. Shah is also an educator for which this blogger is grateful!
The next MaineCDC briefing is scheduled for Monday at 2:00 pm. It can be viewed on Maine Public Television and is subject to last minute scheduling changes.