"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 pharmacy in Gaithersburg, MD, and received his shot. Just as he finished, the pharmacy clerk 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 supply, but it only lasted for a few days,” says 56-year-old Tofig.

Although appointments continue to be cancelled, opinion The press release was issued after a meeting between US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra and health insurer leaders. It was said that over six million vaccines had been delivered to pharmacies and two million Americans had received their shots so far.

And according to a opinion From Moderna, the maker of one of the two approved vaccines, the company has shipped millions of doses to distributors across the country and is “working to support those distributors to ensure that the significant amount of vaccine we have already provided to them continues to rapidly reach pharmacies and other supply sites.”

In parallel with the problems with vaccine supply, those who have been able to receive the vaccination are having problems getting the costs covered by insurance. According to reports due to technical problems. In a letter, major health insurance companies insured Customers were told that these technical issues have been “largely, if not completely, resolved” and that the company is committed to “fully covering the new COVID-19 vaccinations as required, with no cost-sharing, when consumers get them through an in-network provider or get them through an out-of-network provider when in-network options are not available.”

Dotty Johnson was one of many who were unable to 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 COVID-19 outcomes. For her and her husband, getting the new monovalent vaccine is urgent.

Johnson and her husband received the RSV vaccine in mid-September. At that time, the pharmacist told them that CVS was out of stock of the COVID vaccine and that they should make an appointment to come back. The Johnsons made an appointment for last Tuesday, but received a text the night before saying that CVS was out of stock of the vaccine the next day and they would have to reschedule. When Johnson checked online, there were no vaccination appointments available nearby and the earliest appointment was in late October.

She and her husband made an appointment on Tuesday to get a flu shot. But CVS's Medicare system was down, so they had a choice: reschedule or pay out of pocket. They decided to pay $110 each for the flu shot.

CVS recommended continuing to call to find out when the COVID vaccine will be available in their area. “I'm immunocompromised and over 65. My husband is 75 and in good health. He lives with me, and if he gets sick, I get sick, 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 able to accommodate scheduled appointments,” said Matt Blanchette, senior manager of retail communications at CVS Pharmacy. “However, due to shipping delays from our wholesalers, some appointments may be rescheduled. We apologize for any inconvenience and will continue to offer additional appointments at these locations as supplies arrive.”

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 situation than we were last year,” CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, said during a Sept. 27 press conference sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Cohen has already received her flu shot and plans to get vaccinated against COVID as well. “Not only as CDC director, but as a mother, wife and daughter, there is nothing I would recommend 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 “due to availability,” he said on the press conference.

A “shaky” supply chain

“This is a complete disaster. It's bad enough that now we have pandemic fatigue and anti-science and every part else, but this rollout is only 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 the COVID booster shot is “really shaky,” Topol said, and supply levels are lower than many expected at this point. One unforeseen consequence is that the “eager ones” who would normally be vaccinated in the first few weeks are not getting immunized.

The situation will “further undermine the coordination of health authorities in pandemic management after the state of emergency.”

Cohen said, “We've had the brand new, updated COVID vaccine for about two weeks now, and this 12 months the method is different.”

In previous years, the federal government purchased and distributed the COVID vaccines, so it was a one-size-fits-all system. That ended when the national health emergency ended 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.