In the United States, the figures are enough to make you dizzy. Joe Biden is on the way to succeeding his bet: inject 200 million doses of vaccine into the arms of Americans by April 20, the day he will celebrate his 100 days at the head of the country. On average, 3 million doses are now administered daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the beginning of April, a record was even reached: more than 11.4 million injected in 72 hours! This weekend, it was 4 million in 24 hours. At this rate, the nearly 245 million adults – out of a total population of 330 million – will all quickly have received their bites. And the United States will be able to sell their surplus to countries behind in their vaccination campaign. Without asking for anything in exchange, promised, Monday, the head of diplomacy Antony Blinken.
Sometimes in the middle of the night
Mass vaccination centers, injections sometimes offered 24 hours a day: Americans are envious. Getting vaccinated in huge parking lots at the wheel of your car, in stadiums, amusement parks, on university campuses or at the local pharmacy: residents are almost spoiled for choice. Each state has its own pace and eligibility criteria, and nearly 20% of Americans are already fully immunized, including 55% of those over 65. Tuesday, Joe Biden gave a new boost: all over 16 years will be eligible for the vaccine across the country by April 19, he promises. Another promise: everyone will have access to a vaccination center within a radius of 8 kilometers around their home, the huge “vaccine pods” not being accessible to everyone.
Three different vaccines are administered: that of Johnson & Johnson (one dose), and those of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna (two doses). Millions of Americans feverishly scan ad hoc websites to quickly get an appointment. In New York, Patrick, a Brooklyn resident, was lucky. He wanted the Johnson & Johnson for its convenience, and the Javits Center, a huge convention center near the Hudson River. He got them. As soon as his category appeared – the over 50s – he got his appointment in 5 minutes. A new batch of doses had probably just been offered just as he was looking to register.
Four days later, Patrick was vaccinated. “On site, everything was extraordinarily organized. I have never seen such efficiency! ” he recounts. “As requested, I did not arrive more than half an hour before my appointment. And there was no congestion. National Guard soldiers are guiding you, everything is going very quickly! ” His only regret? Not being able to immortalize the moment he had his injection. Not allowed. Probably so as not to waste time. Every second counts.
Because if the vaccination campaign is accelerating, it is also because of the appearance of new aggressive and highly contagious variants, which raise fears of a fourth wave. American states have lifted certain restrictions too quickly. For Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, this is a problem. “Cases are increasing nationally, and we are seeing this predominantly in young adults,” she noted on Monday. According to New York Times, for example, new cases of contamination and hospitalization have increased by 112% and 108% respectively in Michigan over the past two weeks.
“They had more ambition”
With more than 555,000 dead and 30 million people infected, the American toll of the pandemic is very heavy. By making the fight against the coronavirus his priority, President Biden was able to double his starting target on the number of doses administered during his 100 days. He seems to be flawless in his management of the pandemic, unlike his predecessor. But, when it comes to vaccines, part of the credit goes to Donald Trump: it is he, in a hurry to revive the economy, who encouraged the development and rapid production of vaccines, by releasing an initial envelope of several billion of dollars. Code name of the operation, led by a general: “Warp Speed”. The public-private partnership then worked wonders.
Even the French President, Emmanuel Macron, recognized it. “The Americans had the merit, in the summer of 2020, of saying ‘let’s go all out and let’s go”. They had more ambition than us. And the “whatever the cost” that we applied for the accompanying measures, they applied it for vaccines and research ”, he admitted on March 24, during an interview. tuned to Greek television.
The Baltimore quack
The vaccination campaign in the United States is impressive, but it was not without difficulties. There are hiccups. First, black and Latino minorities remain under-represented among individuals who have had access to the vaccine. The authorities are trying to target them more. In New York, at the Yankees stadium, for example, you have to be a resident of the Bronx to be vaccinated there. Another problem: the prisoners. In some American states, this category of the population seems to be forgotten. This is particularly the case in Florida. Everyone over 16 can now be vaccinated there, but around 70,000 inmates have still not seen the tip of the needle. According to The Marshall Project, less than 20% of the total US prison population has been vaccinated. Then, 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine had to be discarded, after a human error occurred at the production site of Emerging BioSolutions in Baltimore.
Scientists now fear above all a relaxation. This is the case of Craig Spencer, emergency doctor in New York, also an Ebola survivor. “It’s fantastic that 55% of Americans over 65 are fully immunized! But that means 45% are not, including the woman over 70 who I just diagnosed with severe covid, ”he tweeted on Monday. “Continue to protect yourself. Get vaccinated when you can. Summer will be great. But spring doesn’t have to be awful. ”
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