As numbers climb, governors are now taking new measures to get the distributed vaccines into arms faster: including mobilizing National Guard members and training more volunteers to administer vaccines.
That means only about 28% of the distributed doses have been administered.
Here’s how states are boosting vaccination efforts
“Everyone is scrambling to get as many vaccinators as possible while every staff member is needed to assist with the surge,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom promised “aggressive action” to accelerate the process, including granting a waiver that will allow dentists to administer the vaccine after undergoing training.
Arizona National Guard members, meanwhile, have been “conducting refresher training to the first wave of Arizona residents who have volunteers to support vaccination sites statewide.”
Both the rollout of vaccines and their administration were off to a “slow start,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said, but added things will likely move faster all across the country in the coming months.
“We need to do better at every level, but I believe we will pick up momentum as we get beyond the holiday season into the first couple of weeks of January,” Fauci told Newsday’s Randi Marshall Tuesday.
“We have to be really careful, Randi, that we don’t jump to a conclusion based on a very short time period, because we just started,” Fauci said. “The government and the locals, including the governors and the mayors and others, have just started in the last couple of weeks in December, right in the middle of the holiday season.”
In one county, more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths in a week
“We’re at three times the hospitalizations we saw in November and almost seven times where we were in October,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the chief medical officer for Ohio’s health department, said Tuesday. “Our ICU beds are also very busy. In fact, our ICUs are caring for over 1,000 patients and more than a quarter of our ICU beds are filled with Covid care.”
“While vaccines are a powerful tool, we do not need to wait for vaccines to stop new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and death. We can do that now,” Ferrer, the county’s health director, said in a statement. “It takes every business and every resident to purposefully follow public health directives and safety measures. Please stay home and leave only for essential work or essential services.”
In Georgia, about one in 15 residents has been infected with the virus, and more than one in 1,000 has died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
About 91% of ICU beds across the state are occupied and 85% of all inpatient beds are occupied, according to estimates published by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Arizona health officials, meanwhile, reported just 8% of all ICU beds were available Monday. About 62% of people in the ICU are Covid-19 patients and 57% of the state’s available ventilators are in use, according to the state’s Covid-19 dashboard.
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg, Joe Sutton, Sarah Moon, Gisela Crespo, Deidre McPhillips, Maggie Fox, Gregory Lemos and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.