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Pharmacies start administering their first 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from federal government

More retail pharmacies around the country began administering Covid-19 vaccines by appointment on Friday under a new federal program that is shipping doses d...

Posted: Feb 12, 2021 11:10 AM
Updated: Feb 13, 2021 3:15 AM

More retail pharmacies around the country began administering Covid-19 vaccines by appointment on Friday under a new federal program that is shipping doses directly to them.

One million doses have been allocated to 6,500 pharmacies -- including some CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid locations -- in the first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, and the stores started giving these shots Friday.

This comes on a day when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for reopening schools safely. The CDC is encouraging states to prioritize teachers for vaccination but does not make inoculation one of its key recommendations.

And a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says that nearly a third of Americans -- 31% -- say they plan to 'wait and see' how the vaccines work for others before deciding to get vaccinated themselves.

As for vaccines in pharmacies: Many stores still do not have the vaccine in this first phase of the new federal program. Walgreens will now have it in certain stores in 15 states; Rite Aid has it in six states; and Walmart and Sam's Clubs have it in 22 states. The coverage area is expected to expand as supplies increase.

The doses sent directly to pharmacies are separate from the millions per week that the federal government already has been distributing to states -- a few of which already were providing doses to a small number of pharmacies.

A person's eligibility still varies by state. All states began with priority populations -- often health care workers and people in long-term care facilities -- followed by seniors and/or essential workers, or people with certain health conditions.

More and more states are expanding eligibility to people with pre-existing or underlying conditions. Currently, that's the case in 11 states -- Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas -- according to a CNN analysis of public health department websites.

In New York, people with comorbidities and underlying conditions can sign up for appointments starting Sunday, with vaccinations beginning Monday. California on Friday announced it will expand eligibility to millions of people who have 'serious underlying health conditions' or are 'at high risk with developmental and other disabilities' beginning March 15.

Vaccinations on the rise

Though states have generally complained supply is not meeting demand, the number of vaccinations per day has been rising.

The US has averaged nearly 1.6 million doses administered per day over the past week, higher than the daily average of about 1.3 million last week, according to a CNN analysis of data published Thursday by the CDC.

By April, access could start to expand to the general public, and most Americans could be inoculated by the middle or end of summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC's 'Today' show this week. Fauci is President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The upswing in vaccinations comes amid concerns about the spread of more-transmissible coronavirus variants. One key question is whether the vaccines will work on these mutated strains.

So far, at least 997 cases of more-transmissible Covid-19 variants, first detected in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, have been reported in the US, according to CDC data.

Dr. Barney Graham, deputy director of the Vaccine Research Center at National Institutes of Health, told Biden on Thursday that the antibodies that vaccines make against the virus can still attack the known variants.

'Antibodies have a lot of places to bind. It may eventually lose efficacy, but I think we are OK for now until additional mutations are accumulated,' Graham said.

CDC recommends 5 key strategies to reopen schools

The CDC's newly released guidelines for reopening schools includes 'five key mitigation strategies' for returning to in-person school safely.

Those five key strategies are: the universal and correct wearing of masks; physical distancing; washing hands; cleaning facilities and improving ventilation; and conducting contact tracing, isolation, and quarantining.

Biden has pledged to reopen most US K-12 schools within his first 100 days in office, though some teachers' unions have expressed concerns about reopening while many educators have yet to be vaccinated.

And according to a CNN analysis of federal data, about 99% of US children live in what's considered a 'red' zone with high levels of virus transmission under new CDC guidance.

Almost 73 million children -- about 99% of the US population under the age of 18 -- live in county where there were at least 100 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, or a test positivity rate of at least 10%, during the past seven days, according to the CNN analysis.

The new CDC guidelines recommend virtual learning for middle and high schools and hybrid learning or reduced attendance for elementary schools in these high transmission zones.

The CDC's guidance Friday says vaccination and testing 'provide additional layers of Covid-19 prevention in schools,' but it doesn't describe them as key strategies.

'Our operational strategy specifically includes a component on vaccinations for teachers and school staff as an additional layer of protection,' said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at a news briefing on Friday.

She said the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that frontline essential workers -- a group that includes educators -- be prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination.

'As such, we strongly encourage states to prioritize teachers and other school staff to get vaccinated,' Walensky said. 'If we want our children to receive in-person instruction, we must ensure that teachers and school staff are healthy and protected from getting Covid-19 in places outside of schools where they might be at higher risk.'

States loosen their coronavirus restrictions

The rates of new Covid-19 cases and deaths, and the numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospitals, are dropping after surges around the holidays. As they do, some states are dropping social restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus.

Nevada said it will aim to end state-mandated business capacity restrictions by May 1 in phases, though local governments can still issue their own restrictions.

Starting Monday, Nevada state rules will allow most businesses and houses of worship to have up to 100 people, or 35% of normal capacity. If coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease, capacity would go up to 50% on March 15.

Indoor gathering limitations in Wyoming will be increased to 25% of capacity or 500 people Monday, and limits on sporting events, artistic performances, restaurants and gyms will be eased, according to Gov. Mark Gordon.

Though daily Covid-19 numbers have recently improved, health experts have warned that precautions are still important to keep the spread of more transmissible variants limited.

The CDC has warned that the variant first identified in the UK could become dominant in the US, and worsen the spread of the virus.

'Many of us think ... as we get into the middle of March, April and May, that's the time when we're really going to see this big upswing in the number of new cases and, possibly, deaths' because of that variant, Dr. Peter Hotez told CNN's 'New Day' on Friday.

'So, how do we get the population vaccinated as quickly as possible?' said Hotez, the co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital. '... I'm really feeling good about the country over the summer, but I'm worried about the spring.'

New report says nearly a third of US adults are undecided about the vaccine

The 31% of Americans who say they plan to 'wait and see' how the vaccines work for others represent 'a critical group for efforts aimed at boosting vaccinations,' according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's (KFF) Vaccine Monitor report.

Many of those who said they wanted to wait said that a close friend or family member getting vaccinated would be most likely to sway their decision, according to the KFF report.

About half of those in the 'wait and see' group are White, 16% are Black and 19% are Hispanic. A majority say they are worried that they or a family member will get sick from coronavirus.

Over half of the 'wait and see group' view getting vaccinated as a personal choice and just 40% see vaccination as a responsibility to protect others.

The 'wait and see group' are also politically diverse, with 42% identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic while 36% identify as Republicans or leaning Republican.

The pace of vaccinations should ramp up in March and April, allowing a broader segment of the population to become eligible, Fauci said.

'I would imagine by the time we get to April, that will be what I would call for, you know, for better wording, open season,' Fauci told NBC on Thursday. 'Namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated.'

Makers of the country's currently authorized two-dose vaccines -- Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna -- have begun trials for children, starting with older age groups. By September, vaccines could be authorized for young children, Fauci told ProPublica on Thursday.

Johnson & Johnson would add to the country's supply if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes its one-dose vaccine. The company has said it could provide 20 million to 30 million doses by the end of April if the authorization comes, with more possible after that.

Biden said Thursday the US is on track to have vaccine supply for 300 million Americans 'by the end of July.'

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749532

Reported Deaths: 13746
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030911775
Lake554681006
Allen41636691
St. Joseph36947564
Hamilton36527416
Elkhart29363459
Tippecanoe22862225
Vanderburgh22542400
Porter19331325
Johnson18405388
Hendricks17588317
Clark13200193
Madison13120344
Vigo12604253
LaPorte12394221
Monroe12163175
Delaware10947198
Howard10263225
Kosciusko9614119
Hancock8549144
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7772180
Grant7229179
Wayne7155201
Boone6917103
Morgan6736141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6206116
Cass5991108
Henry5894108
Dearborn588978
Noble580186
Jackson508674
Shelby500897
Lawrence4732121
Gibson444093
Harrison440773
Clinton440055
DeKalb438785
Montgomery434690
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399259
Miami392768
Jasper386954
Knox375790
Putnam372160
Wabash360583
Ripley346570
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White330253
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269955
Clay265848
Washington244934
Randolph244683
Jennings235149
Spencer234231
Starke227558
Fountain218647
Sullivan213943
Owen211058
Fulton201542
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175726
Vermillion173644
Franklin170235
Tipton165846
Parke149016
Pike138034
Blackford136132
Pulaski120247
Newton112736
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton101014
Martin91515
Warren83615
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107225

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1285061459
Cuyahoga1156322204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524951040
Summit48356999
Lucas43309817
Butler38903603
Stark33297929
Lorain25641502
Warren24558303
Mahoning22332601
Lake21139385
Clermont20098252
Delaware18819135
Licking16649222
Fairfield16564204
Trumbull16527479
Medina15597270
Greene15256246
Clark14223306
Wood13281197
Portage13229214
Allen11903239
Richland11598211
Miami10837223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9023230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8652122
Tuscarawas8639247
Marion8635138
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7139179
Hancock6996131
Ross6934161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6530104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5723102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5437125
Darke5415129
Seneca5344126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501687
Mercer487285
Shelby476295
Knox4568112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4334103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387377
Preble3847103
Clinton378566
Ottawa372781
Highland359465
Williams347878
Champaign343858
Guernsey324253
Jackson317554
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285350
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268459
Van Wert247264
Adams242956
Pike242735
Gallia240550
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196948
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113738
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
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It'll be another pleasant day with sunshine and highs in the upper 70s.
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