“The most vulnerable populations, just like the ones that are most affected by COVID, are not necessarily the ones that are going to be able to scour the internet to find a place to go,” says Anders Gilberg, senior vice president at the Medical Group Management Association, which represents doctors in private practice. Many people already get their flu vaccine at their primary-care doctor’s office. So why not the COVID-19 vaccine?
The reason, in short, is that there is simply not enough of the vaccine to go around. Seniors might be frustrated, but so are local and state health departments, governors, doctors, and pretty much everyone else I’ve called in the past week. They’re all saying the same thing: They wish they could get more doses of the vaccine—especially the Moderna version, which does not have to be kept at ultra-low temperatures. They also want it sent to them by the federal government on a more predictable schedule. The Biden administration might help with both of these problems, but so far, it has been a long and bitter month of waiting.
“We desperately want to put vaccines in the hands of providers. But we can’t give them vaccines until we receive them,” says Michael Weber, who runs the health department in the county where Siedlecki’s clinic is located. Before last week, the health department had received a total of just 300 doses of the vaccine.