Coronavirus: AHA calls for expedited administration of vaccines

The open letter to the HHS secretary urges him to be more transparent about the vaccine rollout.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is calling on the federal government to expedite the administration of COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines.

In a Jan. 7 letter addressed to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar, the group says that, while the first vaccinations in December were met by celebration, the slow pace of the rollout has led to concern about whether vaccinating the nation would move as quickly as federal leaders had claimed it would.

“We urge you to establish a process within HHS with the ability to be able to coordinate the national efforts among all of the states and jurisdictions and the many stakeholders; answer all of the questions expeditiously; establish and maintain effective communication among all involved; and identify and resolve barriers to the rapid deployment of millions of doses of vaccines,” the letter says.

While hospitals share the goal of the government in getting as many people vaccinated as possible, barriers still remain. In an effort to remedy these, the letter identifies some of these:

  • Share goals and expectations – The goal of vaccinating 75 percent of 328 million Americans by the end of May would require 1.8 million people getting the jab everyday between Jan. 15 and May 31, including weekends and holidays. There are currently 64 different microplans devised by states, large cities, and other jurisdictions, but has HHS assessed whether these plans are capable achieving this goal or is HHS working to amend the plans so that they do?
  • Ongoing support – While HHS has offered initial guidance and support, the vaccination effort requires ongoing and visual coordination with critical stakeholders including prompt decision-making. Tasks must be simplified and standardized to avoid unnecessary confusion and complexity which can impede making progress in vaccinating the public.
  • Track and share vaccination data – Everyone will want to know the how the rollout is going, whether there are any delays, and what is being done to resolve any issues. Showing the progress of the vaccination effort to reach the 75 percent goal would grant greater insight.