VAX: By the numbers…

I’m trying to get my brain around all the numbers that are being bandied around re: COVID vaccine supply & demand…

My conclusion: Within 2 months we’ll have all the vaccine needed to inoculate  enough people to reach herd immunity.

That’s the supply side of the equation … “distribution” and “demand creation” are another story” … that I’ll explore in some subsequent posts.

Warning: This post may be painful for readers who self- proclaim to be numerically-challenged.

They may want to stop reading right now.

For my fellow quant geeks, please keep reading and let me know if you spot any errors in my logic or numbers


Let’s start with a population breakdown…

There are approximately 250 million people older than 18 … for whom the COVID vaccines are approved.


Dr. Fauci, our Chief Political Scientist, now says that it’ll take 70% to 80% to reach herd immunity.  We’ll use 75%.

That means that the “gross” immunization population is about 185 million people.

There have been about 25 million confirmed COVID cases.

“The science” tells us that those folks are immune post-infection recovery.

So, the net target immunization population drops to about 160 million (provided that those confirmed cases are real and that those people have, in fact, developed immunity).

But, since both of the currently approved vaccines requires 2 doses, the U.S. needs 320 million doses of vaccine to fully vaccinate the net target immunization population

The Feds have distributed  about 30 million doses to the states … and have reportedly held back an equal number in inventory for 2nd doses.

Note: Of the 30 million doses distributed to the states, about 10 million doses have been administered to 9 million patients (with 1 million of the 9 million getting 2 doses each).

Said differently, the Feds have received 60 million doses of vaccine to be distributed and inoculated.

That leaves an aggregate supply shortfall of 260 million doses.

In the past 7 days, the Feds have received about 4 million doses per day.

At that rate, it will take about 2 months for the Feds to receive and distribute enough doses to vaccinate the 240 million US adults over 18 who have not already been naturally immunized by getting COVID-infected.


Do I have it right?

Let me know if you spot any errors in my logic or my numbers.

Detailed recap chart below …



3 Responses to “VAX: By the numbers…”

  1. Dennis Cavanaugh Says:

    Hi Ken. We worked at B&D together years ago. I enjoy reading your posts. I don’t know how to quantify an estimate of the number of people who won’t be vaccinated by choice. According to some polls the % is dropping. Unless there are deaths attributed to the vaccine, the decliners may be 15% of population. So no vax needed for them. Since some states are vaccinating non residents, more will be needed. Also, as the number of vax locations increases, more vaccines will spoil and be tossed due to inability to maintain temp. Can’t quantify this. In any case, hurry up herd immunity. Be well and stay safe. Dennis Cavanaugh

  2. Los Says:

    I’m surprised by putting so much faith on a government distribution network and people being so selfless that they won’t wanna be vaccinated even after having had a full recovery (initial data from about the Manaos strain is also might give them reason to). We, for example, plan on vaccinating our children.

    Also, being vaccinated does not prevent spread.

  3. Stanislav Yazynin Says:

    Hello, Professor! I am your former student and remember your marketing classes as the most interesting and rigorous. One idea: you may also want to get into more details on herd immunity calculations. Specifically, ““R naught…indicates how contagious an infectious disease is…With an R0 of 5.7, at least 82 percent of the population needs to be immune to COVID-19 to stop its transmission through vaccination and herd immunity.” (Source:

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