Breaking: US Has No COVID-19 Vaccine Reserve

Army Spc. Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

Earlier this week Trump administration officials, including outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, promised to release all available COVID-19 doses to states rather than stockpiling them to use as second shots. However, this morning Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that she has received confirmation that there is no federal reserve and that states will not be receiving an expected surge in vaccine doses.

“Last night, I received disturbing news, confirmed to me directly by General Perna of Operation Warp Speed: States will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week, because there is no federal reserve of doses,” Gov. Brown announced via Twitter. “I am demanding answers from the Trump Administration. I am shocked and appalled that they have set an expectation on which they could not deliver, with such grave consequences. This is a deception on a national scale.”

President-elect Joe Biden, who promised last week to free up all available vaccine doses when he takes office, is expected to give a statement on his vaccination plan later today. With no federal reserve of doses to release, Biden’s proposed plan is unlikely to immediately increase the available vaccine supply.

According to the CDC, 11.1 million US citizens have received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. However, there have been 30.6 million doses distributed to states so far, meaning states are falling behind on distributing their available doses. Louisiana remains in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine rollout plan, with vaccines available for:

  • People ages 70+
  • Outpatient clinic providers and clinic staff
  • Urgent care clinic providers and staff
  • Behavioral health providers and staff
  • Dialysis providers and patients
  • Home health service providers and recipients
  • Dental providers and staff
  • Students, residents, and faculty and staff of allied health schools

This is expected to cover around 640,000 Louisiana residents. In New Olreans, those qualifying for a vaccine can sign up for an appointment at Crescent Care by calling 504-821-2601 – however, they currently have no appointments available until next week.

According to Governor John Bel Edwards, the state is preparing to ramp up its vaccine distribution with “mass events” in addition to what the state is doing now. “We are rehearsing for that. We are planning for that, we hope that day comes sooner rather than later,” Edwards said at a press conference on Tuesday. However, Louisiana officials haven’t announced any mass vaccination sites or provided any detailed plans as to what the next rounds of distribution might look like.

New Orleans emergency preparedness site, NOLA Ready has begun calling for volunteers who could help with community vaccination events, including giving injections and helping with operations. Volunteers do not need to be trained healthcare professionals and can sign up at

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