Post #899: Vaccine allocation rule is straight per-capita

Posted on November 25, 2020

Per this reporting from NPR, the initial doses of COVID-19 available in the US will be distributed across the States on a straight per-capita basis.  So I have to take back everything I said in Post #896.  Even if allocating on a per-capita basis isn’t the smartest way to do it, it certainly is transparent.

The reason this is straightforward may simply be a matter of arithmetic:  The number of doses they are talking about (6.4 million) is about enough to immunize half of US hospital workers (6.6 million, per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics), given that that these first two vaccines require two shots.

So, under these rules, Virginia should be allocated about 165,000 doses, which is enough to immunize just over 80,000 people.  At present, hospital employment in Virginia is listed as 165,000 (from the US BLS). That would not count (e.g.) physicians who have admitting privileges at those hospitals.

Bottom line is that allocation of the first round of vaccines is fairly uncontroversial, because it’s probably all going to be allocated to (and still not fully cover) hospital workers and similar high-risk front-line workers (e.g., paramedics, physicians).  It is unlikely to result in significant immunizations beyond that core group of health workers.

In short there’s really nothing to fight over, yet, regarding the allocation of vaccines to states.