The reason for holding back more than half of the vaccine, they argue, is that it is a two-dose regimen and they want to make sure they have second doses available for everyone who gets the first. So instead of pushing out as many doses as possible immediately, they are holding back 55 percent of available supply — 50 percent for second doses and about 5 percent as a “safety stock.” As a result, they will distribute only about 18 million doses this year when about 40 million will be available.
That is insane. We are at the peak of the pandemic. On Dec. 17, 3,406 people died of covid-19 — the highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began. Holding back 55 percent of your available vaccine during the pandemic’s peak is like holding back 55 percent of your available ammunition on D-Day, because the troops will need those bullets a month from now when the Nazis are on the run. When soldiers are fighting and dying on the beaches, you give them all the ammunition you can right away — knowing factories back home are churning out more. A bullet delivered at the height of the battle is worth more than a bullet delivered a month after the battle has died down. The same is true in a pandemic. A vaccine delivered today at the height of the pandemic is worth more than a vaccine delivered a month from now — because more people are dying now than will be dying next month.
This is especially true because we know that the first vaccine dose provides significant immunity.