Vaccine Availability Increasing

Finally, we are seeing significant progress being made.

While the United States has around 80 million people who have gotten at least one vaccine shot, the progress towards vaccinating all adults is picking up speed. The federal efforts at having large vaccination sites and mobilizing more vaccinators are starting to pay off.

Anecdotally, here in my neck of the woods our local Safeway Pharmacy is starting to provide vaccinations and my local medical clinic contacted me to ask if we had our vaccinations since they now had a supply of vaccines. Getting vaccines to places where people normally get their flu vaccinations is a big step forward. 

The next larger step in vaccine availability is that a U.S. trial found AstraZeneca’s vaccine was 79 percent effective with no serious side effects. The company will immediately seek emergency Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization. This will be the third authorized vaccine (if it happens) in the United States. 

Still, I think the variants are ahead of us in the race to vaccinate people. The virus case trendlines are tracing upwards about 2.5 percent in the last seven-day average. In several more weeks we'll know who is winning that race. The Spring Break crowds in Miami are not a good indicator. It would appear to be a natural super-spreader event with national implications as people fly back home or to school. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.