Late Tuesday afternoon, the clinic set up by Swedish Hospital inside Seattle University’s Campion Hall was filled with folks getting their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The process was speedy and efficient, a model to be emulated. But the whole operation was expected to be temporarily suspended on Wednesday.
Why? Because new supplies of the vaccine were not yet available. This is a problem that has impeded the battle against the deadly coronavirus throughout the state and, in fact, throughout the country and the world. The good news is that help is on the way.
The Trump administration’s inept crew of bunglers has been replaced by President Joe Biden’s expert team, and they have hit the ground running. On Tuesday, Biden announced the federal government has put in an order for 200 million more vaccine doses that will reach Americans by summer. Meanwhile, he has set a goal of getting 100 million shots into arms within his first 100 days in office. In an indication of this new push, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the federal government is increasing the weekly vaccine allotment to Washington by 16%.
Patience is still needed – obtaining an appointment for a COVID-19 shot is currently as competitive and frustrating as snagging decent concert tickets from Ticketmaster – but getting vaccinated should be an easier task in the weeks to come.
There is a bigger task looming, though. While the United States may finally be getting a handle on distributing the vaccine, and while developed countries such as Japan, Canada and Australia have more vaccine supplies than they need, vast areas of South America, Africa and Asia are being left out of the scramble for vaccines. Unless we can help those regions receive their fair share, the pandemic cannot be permanently defeated and that would be bad news for us all.
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