Archive for the ‘COVID – vaccine’ Category

VAX: Again, please quit teasing me !

February 4, 2021

Statistically insignificant, logistically nightmarish.
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According to the WSJ

Team Biden announced a federal program starting Feb. 11 that will deliver vaccines directly to certain pharmacies, including ones operated by Walgreens, CVS, Kroger and Walmart.

Next week, a million doses being allocated to 6,500 stores next week.

If I’ve got the decimal point right, that works out to a whopping 150 doses per store.

Imagine if Apple were to launch a new generation iPhone by allocating 150 per store.

Statistically insignificant …  and logistically nightmarish for both stores (that need to staff up for low scale operations) and consumers (who will need to fight for appointments on the hellish scheduling sites).

Though I’m 24 x 7 on all the stores’ appointment scheduling systems, I think I’m more likely to get struck by lightning in the next couple of weeks than to get a shot at one of these places.

But, I’ll keep trying…

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P.S. I wonder what the shipping container size is for the vaccines…

Given the deep-freeze storage requirements, I thought a shipping container of vax was much bigger than 30 bottles, each with 5 (or 6) doses.

Anybody know?

VAX: Please stop teasing me!

February 4, 2021

Shucks, those are just technical details.
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According to the Baltimore Sun

Here we go again….

Maryland Gov. Hogan announced the opening of two mass vaccination sites at the Baltimore Convention Center and Six Flags America in Prince George’s County.

OK, that makes sense, but …

Details surrounding the mass sites have not been announced:

  • How to get an appointment?
  • How many vaccines a day the state hopes to administer?
  • How fast will the program ramp-up?

I guess those are just technical details.

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P.S. The launch is scheduled for tomorrow, so Team Hogan still has today to sort out the details.

What a way to run railway…

Feb. 4: COVID VAX Stats

February 4, 2021

Vaccine Supply & Vaccinations

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Supply Utilization

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Vaccinations per Day

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Link to State by State Data

VAX: Working at cross-purposes?

February 3, 2021

Sometimes, it’s easier to just go with the flow…
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I think that practically everybody agrees that Blacks have been disproportionately crushed by COVID … and that, for understandable reasons, Blacks are disproportionately reluctant to get COVID vaccinations.

Preliminary data shows white Marylanders account for most of the inoculations, with Black people receiving about 16% of the total despite making up about 31% of the state’s population. Source

To compensate, Maryland Gov. Hogan has launched the GoVax PR campaign to “address a reluctance some people have to getting the vaccine, particularly those who don’t trust the medical system.” Source

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No quarreling with the objective … and, the approach is a classic marketing mass communications program.

OK, hold that thought …

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Uh-oh: If you haven’t already scored your 1st vax shot…

February 3, 2021

… the 2nd dose aftershock effect™ may clog schedules and make you wait until March.
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Caution: Keep in mind that we’re frustrated that we haven’t been able to get vaccinated even though we’re officially “vulnerable”.

Earlier this week, the obvious became evident to me.

The chart below displays the number of vax doses administered in our home county.

What pops out at you?

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Yep, the blue section of the bars is getting proportionately bigger from week-to-week.

If you answered: “the 2 bars in the middle are pretty small”, you’re right, too. 

The obvious explanation: National emergencies are only fought Monday thru Friday (preferably 9 to 5)

So, what’s the blue section?

It’s the number of vax doses given as 2nd shots.

Two weeks ago, 2nd shots accounted for about 15% of the total.

Last week, that proportion jumped to over 1/3 … and, is continuing to increase.

That’s completely understandable.

Since January was essentially the first month of vaccinations … and, both Pfizer and Moderna have 2-shot regiments … all of those January 1st shots are coming due for their follow-up 2nd shots.

What’s the practical implication?

BOOM ! The predictable headline:

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While we’re not directly impacted by Baltimore City’s policy, it foreshadows what we can expect to see in my home county (see chart above).

And, the 2nd dose aftershock effect™  is likely to make it to a neighborhood near all folks waiting for first shots.

Case in point: Following Baltimore City’s lead, Maryland’s state health secretary told health care providers that they should” hold in reserve enough COVID-19 vaccine to administer second doses to people who have already received one shot — rather than using their supply to give more people their first inoculation.” Source

The good news: it’s likely to be an alternating month dynamic.

Since there will be proportionately fewer 1st shots in February, there won’t be as many pent-up 2nd shots in March … so, we eager un-vaxed people should a pretty good shot in March (<= pun intended).

And, hopefully, Fauci & Friends won’t drag out the J&J vax approval … which could potentially open the vax floodgates in March.

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P.S. There are some health policy changes that could also mitigate the 2nd dose aftershock effect™

We’ll save those for subsequent posts.

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Feb. 3: COVID VAX Stats

February 3, 2021

Vaccine Supply & Vaccinations

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Supply Utilization

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Vaccinations per Day

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Link to State by State Data

VAX: Why is West Virginia kicking the butts of richer, allegedly smarter states?

February 2, 2021

Answer: It received disproportionately more vaccine than other states … and it used what it go much more efficiently
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When it comes to vaccinating, West Virginia (WV) has been outperforming other states.

For example …

Before the end of December, all WV’s sweep of nursing homes and long-term care facilities was complete.

Currently, over 10% of WV’s residents have gotten at least 1 dose of vaccine

Why has WV been so successful up to now, while other states (e.g. my home state Maryland) are lagging?

In prior posts, we broached the question:

Why is West Virginia outperforming Maryland?

Starting with this post, we’re going to drill down a bit deeper on WV’s performance factors.

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Today, let’s take a look from 50,000 feet …

Simply put, WV’s performance (and, more broadly, that of any state) is the joint effect of 2 overall factors: the relative amount of scarce vaccine that the state receives … and, the state’s efficiency in utilizing the supply that it does get.

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To get an overview, we sorted states into the consultant’s analytical weapon of choice — 2 dimensional matrix (below):

> On the vertical axis (the rows), the states are sorted by the relative per capita supply of vaccine that they’ve received from the Feds … whether they have received an average amount, at least 5% more than the average or greater than 5% less than the average.

Supply is, by and large, an exogenous variable.  That is, other than by whining & complaining to the Feds, it’s not under the states’ control.

> On the horizontal axis (the columns) states are categorized based on the percentage of the vaccine that they’ve been allotted that they’ve utilized (i.e. that has been administered in vaccinations).

The utilization percentage is a summary measure of the state’s utilization efficiency.  In later posts, we’ll explore factors that drive the utilization percentage.

Here’s the way states sort out (as of Jan. 30) …

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Feb. 2: COVID Vax Metrics

February 2, 2021

Vaccine Supply & Vaccinations

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Supply Utilization

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Vaccinations per Day

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Link to State by State Data

Oops: Not all states are getting their ‘fair share’ of vaccine.

February 1, 2021

In our prior post re: States’ Performance Rankings, we naively assumed that “all states are getting supplied vaccine roughly proportionate to their populations”.

I decided to test out that assumption and guess what?

Unless one takes a VERY broad interpretation of “roughly”, our going-in assumption is not true.

Let’s go through the numbers…

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The CDC reports Total Doses Distributed (by the Feds to the States) .. and Doses Administered per 100K  (by the states)– a per capita measure standardized based on each state’s population.

On average, states have received 14,769 per capita Doses Distributed (or, in my preferred terminology, “supplied”).

The  range runs from a low of 10,879 per 100K in South Carolina to 26,403 in Alaska … that’s a range of 15,000 per capita from high to low.

The Top 10 states average 17,751 — which is 20% higher than the average across all states.

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Per capita, Alaska & DC have received 78% and 42% over the average, respectively.

Florida is the only big state of the Top 10 that has received disproportionately high vaccine distributions (7% more than average).

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At the other end of the list:

The Bottom 10 states average 12,702 per 100K — which is 16% lower than the all states’ average.

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Worst Cases:  South Carolina Nevada have received 26% and 18% under the per capitaaverage, respectively.

There are 3 large states in the Bottom 12 (Illinois, Ohio and Texas) that appear to be getting disproportionately low vaccine distributions.

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Is your state getting more or less than its fair share?

Below is a heat map with all states data …

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Feb. 1: COVID Vax Metrics

February 1, 2021

Vaccine Supply & Vaccinations

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Supply Utilization

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Vaccinations per Day

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Link to State by State Data

Jan. 31: VAX Key Metrics

January 31, 2021

Vaccine Supply & Vaccinations

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Supply Utilization

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Vaccinations per Day

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Link to State by State Data

VAX: States’ Performance Rankings

January 30, 2021

How’s your state doing … by the numbers?
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The numbers: The data is sourced from the CDC and Bloomberg.

It’s reported that all states are getting supplied vaccine roughly proportionate to their populations, so we started by heat-mapping & ranking the states along 3 performance metrics:

> Percentage of the states population getting at least one vaccination shot (a measure of ultimate goal attainment or “penetration”)

> The most recent daily average of shots administered, per 100,000 of population (a trend measure of “productivity” or “throughput”)

> Each state’s utilization of the vaccine that has been supplied by the Feds (a measure of “asset” efficiency)

Then, we’ve averaged each state’s ranking along these 3 measures to synthesize an overall performance ranking.

And, the answer is …

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Top vax performing states

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Bottom vax performing states

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Below are component variable rankings (top & bottom performing states for each of the 3 metrics) and a link to all data for all states…

 

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VAX: J&J reports 66% effectiveness … good news or bad news?

January 29, 2021

Here are my takeaways, drawing largely from the WSJ analysis of J&J’s press release.
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> Overall, J&J’s vaccine was 66% effective against moderate or severe symptoms … and “appeared to be generally safe and well tolerated”

Note: The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots were more than 94% effective in late-stage testing.

But, the competitive brands’ results may not be directly comparable.

J&J’s trial occurred as at least one variant (i.e. the South African strain) that appears to have some impact on vaccine efficacy was circulating, while the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech trials were completed before variants of concern started transmitting widely. Source

> The vax was 72% effective in the US … lower in Latin America (66%) and South Africa (57%).

Note: The lower effectiveness in South Africa is a red flag re: effectiveness against mutating strains of the virus and probably distorts the comparisons against Pfizer & Moderna

> When considering only severe cases, J&J said its vaccine was 85% effective across all regions studied. 

Note: The J&J study tracked moderate and severe cases of Covid-19, defined as testing positive for the virus and having certain symptoms including shortness of breath, cough, fever or respiratory failure.

> The J&J vaccine prevented 100% of hospitalizations and deaths — all hospitalizations and deaths in the study group occurred among people who got the placebo. Bloomberg

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> Good news: the J&J vaccine is a single dose and only requires refrigeration, not sub-zero freezer storage, making broad-scale distribution more practical.

> More good news: The J&J vax is already in high volume production, awaiting regulatory approval.

> Bad news: Regulatory approval isn’t expected until the end of February.

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> J&J reminder:

“It’s a pandemic vaccine preventing death and hospitalization and severe disease in an acute situation, now in the middle of a pandemic.”

> WSJ conclusion:

Even though it wasn’t as effective as the (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines, J&J’s vaccine performance would be strong enough to protect many people and help build the community immunity.

> My take:

Disappointed that effectiveness rate isn’t higher.  If it were, brand choice would be a no-brainer (save for potential longer-run health consequences — which haven’t been evaluated for any of the vaccines) 

Keeping things in perspective, 72% effectiveness in the U.S. is greater than zero … greater than most vaccines that have ever been deployed for other infections… and, roughly the same as the first-dose-only effectiveness of the  Moderna vaccineSource

And, keeping an eye on the goal line, J&J’s vaccine was 100% preventative of hospitalization and deaths. 

So, barring any  differentiating long-term health consequences that could be significant (and haven’t been studied yet for any of the vaccines), I plan to take the first vax that I can get my hands on.

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DISCLAIMER: I’m not a medical person or scientist — just a curious, self-interested guy.  So, don’t take anything that I say or write as medical advice. Get that from your doctor! 

VAX Dx: Where the hell is the vaccine inventory?

January 28, 2021

Rx: reclaim & redeploy it.

I used to preach to students that, in product businesses, inventory management is crucially important.

Too much inventory is wasteful investment … too little inventory loses sales … wrongly deployed inventory does both.

So, I’d say, laser-focus on inventory numbers.

They are early indicators of problems that may be cropping up in your business system.

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With that as background (and with my current high interest in getting vaccinated), I was stunned when Biden’s new CDC director claimed: “I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have.” Source

First, I find that claim to be incredible.

Note: Incredible means not credible.

All vaccines must be tagged with IDs in case inoculation problems crop up (think: Moderna’s recent bad batch in California).

And, it has been broadly reported that each container of COVID vaccine has sophisticated RFID tagging that links to location and even reports current temperature.

So, I gotta believe that figuring out how much vaccine there is — and, as important, where it is — is imminently doable.

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Further, the CDC publishes daily stats on doses distributed and used.

Let’s start there … with the published CDC data:

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Rounding up for simplicity:

  • 50 million doses have been received and distributed (to states) by the Feds
  • 25 million have been used (by states & localities via hospitals, etc.)

That means that 25 million doses are either “in transit” (probably a very small amount) or “in inventory” (probably the bulk of the doses).

My question: Where the hell are the 25 million doses? Who is holding them, where are they holding them and why are they holding it?

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VAX Quest: Why is West Virginia outperforming Maryland?

January 27, 2021

Given my vax-chase frustration, an analysis from left-leaning Brookings caught my eye:

COVID-19 vaccinations: Why are some states and localities so much more successful?

First, Brookings observes that all states (red and blue alike) have been  receiving allocations of vaccine doses in approximate proportion to their populations.

So, Brookings concludes that differences between states in inoculation rates must reflect other factors.

Like what?

To answer the question, the Brookings’ analyst did a paired comparison of Maryland and neighboring West Virginia.

Based on key percentages (% nursing home patients vaccinated, % population receiving at least one shot, % of allocated vaccine doses already administered), Brookings drew a “surprise” conclusion:

The wealthy and highly educated state — Maryland — is the one that has done a substandard job of delivering inoculations.

The poor and less educated state — West Virginia — is among the nation’s leaders.

So, what’s going on?

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VAX Quest: Are the “vulnerable” being prioritized?

January 26, 2021

Answer: Based on the data, not in my home county.
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About the only finding that “the science” hasn’t wavered on is that older people are the most vulnerable to serious COVID consequences.

So, are they really being prioritized for vaccinations?

I live in Maryland and — being over 65 — I’m officially categorized as “vulnerable”.

I can’t go across my state border (i.e. access DC vaccine distribution) … and, Maryland counties are trying to restrict their vaccine distributions to their residents.

So, I’m pretty much stuck finding my vaccine in my home county: Anne Arundel.

Statistically and procedurally speaking, there’s no reason to believe that AA County data is projectible to any other spot in the universe, but it’s the data I have and it’s the most relevant to me.

So, what does the AA County data say?

  • 80% of vaccinations have gone to people under 60 years old
  • 14% has gone to people between 60 and 70 years old
  • Only 5% has gone to people over 70 years old

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Source

How can this be?

Simple: The top vaccine tiers include “essentials” — the vast majority of which are under 60 (i.e. they have low vulnerability) … and many of whom have questionable essentiality (e.g. virtual teachers who have no near-term commitment to in person teaching).

Hmmm.

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Data Note

To be fair, AA County says that:

CVS and Walgreens have completed COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Maryland nursing homes.

Clinics in assisted living facilities are underway.

That’s good! And, it’s not clear whether those vaccinations are included in the above numbers.

My hunch: They aren’t … and, they could swing the analysis.

VAX Quest: “We’d like to help, but…”

January 25, 2021

For those anxiously following my quest to get vaccinated …

I was prematurely optimistic last night when I received a text message from my home county’s health department:

Vaccine eligibility expands tomorrow (Monday Jan 25) to all Marylanders age 65+.

Find a hospital, pharmacy, or local provider at covidvax.maryland.gov

Late last night (and very early this morning), I checked (and rechecked and rechecked…) the web sites of state & county public health departments, all hospitals within 50 miles, and the 2 authorized retailers (Walmart & Giant Food Stores) … .

Note: That’s not as easy as it sounds.

For openers, it’s a couple of dozen sites

Each “entity” has its own site, its own view of what the current gov’t policies are, and its own scheduling system (or, should I say, “non-scheduling system”).

Most of the scheduling systems are either overlaid on (and overloading) existing patient portals … or are being developed on the fly.

The majority of the sites ultimately just redirect visitors back to the state & county sites. 

Bottom line: no appointment slots and little indication that here would be any forthcoming any time soon.

The ray of hope: Most of the sites were still displaying last week’s info (‘e.g. “all appointments for the week of Jan. 18 are now filled”).  They clearly hadn’t been updated over the weekend, in advance of this week’s rush.

I’m sympathetic that these delivery entities just had the vaccination challenge dumped into their laps and are now trying their best to get up and running.

It’s easy to glean the frustration that the vaccinators have with the government rules, processes and support.

Here is how the frustration is well-stated by a world-class medical center in Baltimore:

While we are eager to be a vaccine resource for all of our patients and the public but, per state and district authorization, we are only permitted to vaccinate very specific groups of individuals.

The current vaccine supply provided to us is extremely small.

We are informed by state and district officials about anticipated vaccine delivery on a weekly basis.

This limits our ability to schedule new, first-dose appointments for more than a week at a time.

Our phone systems are overloaded with requests for appointments. We must keep our phone lines clear for people with urgent and acute medical care needs.

We are establishing a call center, and when we are able to schedule by phone we will communicate this to our patients and the public.

As supply is so small, we encourage our patients and community members to take advantage of any opportunity to schedule a vaccination appointment through other state and local health care organizations and agencies.

If you are offered the COVID-19 vaccine by another vaccination site, please take it.

You should not wait to get the vaccine from us.

Suffice it to say that this organization is well intended, deep in medical expertise and, as I said before, world-class.

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P.S. I just got this from my home county’s health department (the one that texted last night that my group was live):

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Ouch. My optimism has faded a bit.

Nothing like gov’t run healthcare during a pandemic.

Joe’s 100-in-100 Goal: A lay-up or a long 3-pointer?

January 25, 2021

In a post early last week (Jan. 18 to be specific), I commended Biden for elevating the priority of “shots in arms”  … you know, the ”100 million in 100 days” thing.

But, I asked: 100 million what — 100 million doses or 100 million people fully vaccinated (i.e. having gotten both doses).

Specifically, I opined:

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 already hovering around 1 million shots per der day … best day was over 1 million; 7-day average was 775k per day.

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 bites of the apple).

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

Well, it took a couple of days but at last Thursday, a reporter sheepishly asked Biden if the goal shouldn’t be a bit higher since we’re already doing over a million shots a day.

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Biden’s answer: ‘When I originally announced the goal, you guys said it couldn’t be done. C’mon man, give me a break.”

I think the reporter may have touched a nerve…

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VAX Quest: Tomorrow, my cohort becomes officially legal.

January 24, 2021

Here’s how I’ve navigated the system so far.
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In a prior post, I laid out the broad jurisdictional hurdles I was running into in my quest to get vaccinated.

See VAX: Of open borders and walls…

Those constraints are still in place, but I’m continuing to forge ahead.

To recap, here’s what I’ve done..

1. Submitted an online “vaccine request” to my home county’s health department.

Question: During a Biden-declared  national emergency, shouldn’t the health dept. be “working” more than  8 to 5, Monday to Friday?  You know, something like 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until COVID is nailed.

2. Submitted online vaccine requests to six (6) hospital “groups”in my region.

Note: By definition, all 6 groups had more that one facility expecting to to receive and deploy vaccine.

Each of the hospital chains has a separate and distinct system for receiving & processing requests … and for scheduling.

There is no apparent inter-system data- sharing or coordination.

3. Submitted a vaccine request to one large standalone hospital.

Ironically, this hospital’s web site and online process was far slicker than any of the 6 chains’.

4. Got summarily rejected by one hospital group (Johns Hopkins) which only offers vaccinations to their current patients (i.e. must have been treated at a JHU medical facility in the past 2 years).

5. Duly noted local success stories of people who have gotten vaccinated

Mostly Florida “snowbirds”, medical personnel, K-12 teachers

One person scored via the county’s “official” system; another got an appointment directly through a hospital.

One bold person just showed up at a vaccination center and badgered the vaccinators until they finally said ok and jabbed him.

Anything I’m missing?

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Stay tuned for the learnings that I’ve drawn from my experience so far…

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 Quest: 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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