The United States vaccine rollout has been a slow and tedious process, one that’s made some states reconsider who gets the shots first, with governors allowing inoculations for those who aren’t healthcare workers or seniors.
While the government had planned to deliver over 20 million inoculations by the end of 2021, as of this week, only around 6 million people have received their shots.
Rules and regulations have varied over the past couple of days from state to state. CNN reports that Montana Governor Greg Gianforte shifted COVID-19 policies in order to include people over the age of 70 and those between the ages of 16 and 69 who had specific health conditions. “We cannot have vaccines sitting on the shelf,” he said.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis warned hospitals that if they were too slow in vaccine distribution, he would remove future allotments. In New York, many medical providers had to throw out vaccine dosages due to how difficult it was to find patients who matched the state’s guidelines, forcing Governor Andrew Cuomo to expand them.
The Trump administration has recently said that states should feel free to make their own decisions when it comes to a vaccination plan, distributing shots to pharmacies or aiding their hospitals and healthcare workers in whatever way that gets people inoculated.
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While a pandemic is a constant source of new challenges, the slow rollout of this batch of vaccines can be explained by funding problems and a lack of guidance for hospitals and health care workers. While Congress recently approved a stimulus bill that might speed the vaccination process, it’s already late, with states having started the vaccine distribution process without the necessary funds.
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The U.S.’s vaccine rollout will likely shift on a weekly basis, with people’s spots in line being determined by their state, age, health risks, jobs and ultimately, with how much they want to get their shots.