Archive for the ‘COVID – vaccine’ Category

VAX: Amazon to the rescue?

January 21, 2021

Everybody has probably read the headline:

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My first reaction: yippee!

I had an immediate vision of ordering a vax dose on Prime, scheduling my 2-day (or next day) delivery, getting a text message that I was the next stop for one of Amazon’s ubiquitous “last mile” vans, having a certified vaccinator jump out of the van, inoculate me (and my wife), and then speed off in the van.

Then I read the actual letter that Amazon send Pres. Biden and my enthusiasm waned a bit.

After the salutation and a vague offer to help, Amazon’s worldwide retail CEO got to the point.

To summarily paraphrase…

Declare Amazon’s  800,000 employees “essential workers” and get us enough vaccine to inoculate them… which we’ll do: at our sites, using a 3rd party vaccinator.

Then, the rest of the quid pro quo…

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Cross one off my worry list…

January 20, 2021

Maryland Gov. Hogan is 64 years old … which, last time I looked is younger than 65.

Nonetheless, he apparently was able to navigate the vax maze (which he created) better than I have been able to do.

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I wonder if he worked through the same wild-goose-chase sites that he sent the rest of us Marylanders to…

I’m betting the under on that one.

On the bright side: only 999,997 shots until Biden his his goal.

VAX: Of open borders and walls…

January 19, 2021

I feel like I’m trying to “find Waldo”.
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Last week I posted (OK, make that “I whined”) that despite my earthly seniority, I was being sorted on the COVID-VAX priority list (in Maryland at least) lower than lawyers, prisoners and ‘the media”.

One loyal reader suggested that — on the basis of my habitual blogging  — that I should self-classify as “media” and get in line. Fearing that I’d get tagged “fake news”, I passed on that idea.

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Open borders

A couple of other loyal readers alerted me that Florida — which was early-in for 65 & over doses — wasn’t enforcing a state residency requirement.

The legal logic: the vax is being provided by the Feds and paid for by Federal taxpayers in all states.  Those who pay for it should get it, right?

Florida’s practical logic: During the winter, Florida hosts a lot of  “snowbirds” — part-year residents with 2nd homes in Florida. They regularly contribute to the state’s economy (and tax base) so they deserve shots, right?

The rub: Many of the “snowbirds” come down from Canada — which (at this time) is behind DC and Puerto Rico for Dem-pushed list of statehood candidates. And, Miami is a hub for business visitors (some legit and some not so much) from Latin America. What to do with these foreign non-residents?

Florida’s answer: Try to keep the word from spreading, but — if the foreigners are over 65 — give them the vax.

The problem: Florida has begun attracting international “vaccine tourists” and its  supply of vaccine  is, shall we say, “tight”.

Bottom line: We cancelled our road trip to visit our friends in Florida

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Strong borders, administrative walls

Then, a ray of hope: DC opened its eligibility list to include folks  over 65 — you know, those scientifically tagged as “vulnerable”.

I live in Maryland (part of the DC “metroplex”), so some loyal readers suggested that I simply cross the MD-DC border and get in line.

A nice idea, especially since I worked in DC for a couple of decades and my wife & I have been loyal patients of Georgetown’s hospital and doctors … and, since Maryland has ceded some of its vaccine allotment to DC to cover interstate cases.

But when I chased down the option, I ran into a formidable wall — not bricks and wire, but government bureaucratic intransigence.

Seems that the DC politicos are OK with national border crossings (with free healthcare provided, of course) but not state crossings for vaccine inoculations (except for out-of-staters who work in DC hospitals) … of course, country border crossings for diplomats (and their families) who are providing “essential services” are on the vax list.

But, the strict state border policy is being strictly enforced for folks like me.

Path closed.

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Then good news: “The science” — housed at the CDC, etc., and frustrated by the slow pace of vaccinations — changed its mind (again) and advised states to starting shooting the vaccine into anybody over 65.

I’m golden, right?

WRONG!

Turns out that my hunt for vax was just starting…

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COVID VAX: What’s up?

January 18, 2021

Now that I’m officially “qualified” to get the COVID-vaccine, I’m a lot more interested in the details.

And, the more I dig deep, the more confused I get.

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Let’s start with the Biden Plan which. I guess, kicks off officially tomorrow.

I commend Biden for elevating the priority of “shots in arms” … and buy-in to ideas like mass distribution sites, community clinics, mobile distribution sites, accelerated retail distribution (drug stores, grocery chains, Costco).

I especially like the nudge that’s legitimizing over 65ers (i.e. me) for vaccinations.

But…

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What’s the goal?

I like the specific goal of “100 million in 100 days”, but gotta ask: 100 million what?

Reading the recaps of weekend interviews this weekend, Biden’s spokespeople seem to be a bit squishy on whether the target is 100 doses or 100 people fully vaccinated (i.e. having gotten both doses).

This may sound like nit-picky semantics, but it’s a big difference.

If it’s 100 million doses, it’s a lay-up.

Last week, we were hovering around 1 million shots per der day … best day was over 1 million; 7-day average was 775k per day.

Threshold reached, trend positive … especially, in marketing-speak,  with a wider target market and and broader retail distribution.

Simple math: 1 million doses per day times 100 days equals, drum roll, 100 million “shots in arms”.

But having 100 million people fully vaccinated (i.e. both doses) is a long 3-point shot (from about mid-court).

My back-of-envelope estimate is that 100 million doses in 100 days would translate to about 70 million people fully vaccinated (since many folks will be taking 2 bits of the apple).

That’s a big difference … but still a commendable goal (especially if my wife & I are among the 70 million!).

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What about vaccine supply?

This is the big weekend surprise…

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VAX: By the numbers…

January 15, 2021

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

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Let’s start with a population breakdown…

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

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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.

Whew!

Do I have it right?

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

Detailed recap chart below …

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Vax: Do we have a supply problem or a demand problem?

January 14, 2021

In interesting opinion piece on CNBC got me thinking.

Scott Gottleib — a former FDA chief — opined that:

Demand (for vaccine) is very deep — there are people who really want it badly — but the demand is not very wide.

The specific implication:

Once we get 60 [million], 70 [million], 80 million Americans inoculated, we’re going to find it’s a  more difficult to get people to line up for a vaccination.

The proof points:

> Surveys are still indicating the 25 to 40% of Americans are reluctant to get vaccinated because they are generally anti-vax … or, they’re specifically suspicious of a vaccine developed under Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.

> There are reports that about half of all hospital personnel, nursing home workers and first-responders are declining offered vaccinations.

> Anecdotally, there are reports that many people “at the margins” are willing to get vaccinated but not willing to jump through bureaucratic hoops or stand in long lines.


So What?

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Jan. 14: COVID Data Dashboard

January 14, 2021

Vaccinations: U.S. Total
Doses Distributed    29.4 MM
Doses Inoculated    10.3 MM
% Pop Vaxed         3.11 %
Current Day Shots    952 K
7-day average       598 K

Source: CDC   Updated: 1/13/2021
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393,609 Deaths-to-Date

3,780 Daily New Deaths  (peak 4,100 Jan. 12)
> 7-day average 3,431      (peak 3,431 Jan. 13)

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Confirmed Cases
218,955 New Cases
> 7-day average  253,758

Currently Hospitalized
131,328
 Current level
> 7-day average 131,114

Can states restrict COVID vax to only its residents?

January 13, 2021

Yesterday’s “urging” by the HHS (aka. “the science”) for states to start vaccinating  all folks over 65 may soon make this question moot … but I gotta ask…
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In a prior post, I asked: What do lawyers, prisoners and ‘the media” have in common?

The answer to that question: They all are ahead of vulnerable seniors in Maryland’s vax pecking order.

Ouch.

Earlier this week, neighboring DC opened up its vaccination program to all residents 65 and over.

Note the emphasis on the word “residents”.

So, I half-joked that  I (a Maryland resident) might have to move to DC to get a COVID vax shot sooner rather than later.

Hmmm.

DC follows Florida which has been vaccinating seniors over 65 for weeks.

Note that the word “residents” doesn’t appear in the prior sentence.

Inadvertent omission?

Nope … it’s a mater of policy.

Florida’s legal logic: The vaccine supply is allocated by the federal government, so all taxpayers are entitled … not just Florida residents.

If folks meet the other criteria (e.g. over 65), they can be vaccinated regardless of residency.

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That gets to my question: Who’s right — DC or Florida?

Can a state legally deny vaccine to non-residents who otherwise qualify?

I can’t find a definitive answer.

If you have one, let me know.

Jan. 13: COVID Data Dashboard

January 13, 2021

Vaccinations: U.S. Total
Doses Distributed    27.7 MM
Doses Inoculated      9.3 MM
% Pop Vaxed          2.82 %
Current Day Shots    340 K

Source: CDC   Updated: 1/12/2021
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385,089 Deaths-to-Date

4,100 Daily New Deaths  (peak 4,100 Jan. 12)
> 7-day average 3,406      (peak 3,406 Jan. 12)

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Confirmed Cases
213,333 New Cases
> 7-day average  236,971

Currently Hospitalized
131,328
 Current level
> 7-day average 131,114

Rapid response: Feds open up vax for seniors and co-morbids.

January 12, 2021

I don’t want to claim credit, but…

Our early morning post (timestamped 8:30) highlighted the idiocy of trying to force feed inoculations on narrow populations that don’t seem to want them (e.g. half of all nursing home staff and law enforcers) … while there is a pent up demand among vulnerable folks who are chomping at the bit to get the vaccine (e.g. my wife & me).

For details, see What do lawyers, prisoners and ‘the media” have in common?

Well, 2 hours later (at 10:27 to be exact), the WSJ reported that:

U.S. officials will suggest anyone over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions be given the vaccine now, and will free up doses being held for second shots.

Of course, I wish the language were a bit stronger to read, say, “fiat” or “force” or “dictate”.

But, it’s a start.

Department of Health and Human Services officials are expected to provide details regarding the change later today.

Now, we Marylanders just have to wait & see if Gov. Hogan will “follow the science” … or, continue to prioritize young lawyers, prisoners and members of the media over vulnerable seniors.

Since Hogan has his eye on a 2024 presidential run, I doubt that he’ll be able to stonewall this one.

Sign me up!

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P.S. Hat tip to President-Elect Biden for forcing the issue …

What do lawyers, prisoners and ‘the media” have in common?

January 12, 2021

They’re all ahead of me in line for COVID vax shots … and I’m not happy about it.
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OK, I admit that this is personal.

Since I’m in the 65 to 75 age bracket (pardon me if I don’t get more specific), I’m officially COVID-vulnerable.

So, I’m eager to get vaccinated … and frustrated.

Maryland Gov. Hogan self-proclaims himself to be a straight-talking former business guy who knows how to get stuff done.

So, it’s disappointing that Maryland is near the bottom of the heap for vaccine inoculations … with a very low percentage of available doses being shot into arms.

COVID vaccines have challenging distribution logistics (many distribution points, essential freezer storage, certification of innoculators, required booster shots).

And, there are supply-demand “discontinuities”: a surplus of people (like me are chomping at the bit to get shots) … and some folks who have high dibs on the first doses are anti-vax and refuse to get vaccinated.

For example, according to the Baltimore Sun:

  • Only 85% of nursing home residents are lining up for shots
  • Only about 1/2 of nursing home staff are get inoculated
  • Less than 1 in 3 law enforcers are signing up for shots

With that as a backdrop, here’s my beef…

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