"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Search for the brand new COVID vaccine

September 29, 2023 – If you're having trouble getting the newest COVID-19 booster shot, you're not alone.

As the rollout of the brand new vaccine now begins in earnest, many Americans are encountering obstacles while federal authorities urge everyone to be patient and get vaccinated when possible.

Dana Tofig was lucky. He signed up for the newest COVID-19 vaccine as soon because it became available. When his appointment got here, he stood in line at a CVS in Gaithersburg, MD, and received his shot. Just as he finished, the pharmacy worker told everyone in line behind him to go home: There were no more doses available.

He said the pharmacy also needed to cancel all appointments for the next day.

“The woman who gave me the injection said: [the pharmacy] “They were given a week’s worth of supplies, which ultimately only lasted a few days,” says 56-year-old Tofig.

Although appointments proceed to be canceled, a opinion The vaccines were released after a gathering between U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and senior representatives of medical insurance corporations that said greater than 6 million vaccines have been shipped to pharmacies and a pair of million Americans have received their shots to date.

And in response to a opinion Moderna, the manufacturer of one in all the 2 approved vaccines, said the corporate has delivered tens of millions of doses to distributors across the country and is “working to support these distributors to ensure that the significant amount of vaccines we have already provided to them, continues to reach pharmacies and other care facilities quickly.”

Paralleling the problems with vaccine supply, those who were able to get vaccinated have had difficulty getting insurance to cover the cost. allegedly as a result of technical problems. In a letter from large medical insurance corporations insured customers that they have “largely, if not completely,” resolved these technical issues and are committed to “fully covering the brand new COVID-19 vaccinations as needed, with no cost-sharing, when consumers access them through an in-network provider or receive them through an out-of-network provider when in-network options should not available.”

Dotty Johnson was one of many who couldn't get the vaccine. She is a 73-year-old retired college professor from Pennsylvania. She recently completed chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, which puts her at higher risk for more severe complications from COVID. It is urgent for her and her husband to get the new monovalent vaccination.

Johnson and her husband received the RSV vaccination in mid-September. At that time, the pharmacist told them that CVS did not yet have the COVID vaccine in stock and that they should make an appointment to come back. The Johnsons made an appointment for last Tuesday, but received a text message the night before saying CVS didn't have the vaccine in stock the next day and they had to reschedule. When Johnson checked online, there were no vaccination appointments nearby and the earliest appointment was in late October.

She and her husband kept their appointment on Tuesday to get their flu shots. But the CVS-Medicare system was down, so they had a choice: reschedule or pay out of pocket. They chose to pay $110 each for the flu vaccine.

CVS recommended they continue to call to find out when the COVID vaccine will be available in their area. “I am immunocompromised and over 65. My husband is 75 and doing well. He lives with me and if he gets sick, I’ll get sick too, right?”

CVS acknowledged some problems in its supply chain.

“We are continually receiving updated COVID-19 vaccines from suppliers and most of our locations are capable of accommodate scheduled appointments,” said Matt Blanchette, senior manager of retail communications at CVS Pharmacy. “However, as a result of shipping delays from our wholesalers, some appointments could also be rescheduled. We apologize for any inconvenience and can proceed to supply additional appointments at these locations once shipments are received.”

In New York City, Zoe Cohen and Levi Shaw-Faber had the same bad luck. In preparation for an upcoming wedding, the couple wanted to get vaccinated a few days in advance. But an hour before their scheduled appointment for the updated COVID vaccine and flu shot, they received a call from CVS telling them they were out of doses. As Cohen and Shaw-Faber scrambled to find another dose for that day, every pharmacy in the New York City area, except for one in New Jersey, was either booked or out of doses.

“The good news is that we are in a different place than we were last year,” CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, said during a Sept. 27 news conference sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Cohen has already had her flu shot and plans to get her COVID shot as well. “Not only as CDC director, but as a mother, wife and daughter, I would not recommend anything to the American people that I would not recommend to my own family.”

Even leading infectious disease experts face some challenges. Robert Hopkins Jr., MD, medical director of the Infectious Disease Foundation, for example, received his flu and COVID vaccinations separately “based on availability,” he said at the press conference.

A “shaky” supply chain

“This is a total disaster. It's bad enough that we have pandemic fatigue and anti-science and everything else, but this rollout is just a curse,” said Dr. Eric Topol, founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California, and editor-in-chief of Medscape, WebMD's sister site for healthcare professionals.

The distribution chain for COVID boosters is “really shaky,” Topol said, and supply levels are lower than many expected at this point. One unforeseen consequence is that the “eager beavers” who would normally be vaccinated in the first few weeks are not getting vaccinated.

The situation will “only further undermine the coordination of public health authorities in the state’s post-emergency pandemic response.”

Cohen said, “We've had the new, updated COVID vaccine for about two weeks, and this year the process is different.”

In previous years, the federal government purchased and distributed the COVID vaccines, so it was a system. That ended when the national health emergency resulted in May. “Now we're returning to what I call 'business as usual,'” Cohen said.

The COVID vaccine is now being purchased and distributed after individual healthcare providers order it and manufacturers and distributors ship it.