The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new tool to help Americans find COVID-19 vaccines as counterfeits and tight supplies continue to plague the distribution process.
The CDC recently issued guidance that adults 65 years of age and older should be cautious of vaccines offered “free of charge,” refreshing concerns surrounding an already strained campaign.
To combat the counterfeit operations — and to help stem the scramble for what doses remain available — the CDC launched a new tool to allow Americans to search for vaccine providers with stocks of the vaccine in their local area.
“The idea is to show where COVID-19 vaccine providers [are] that are open to the public — how to contact them, how to book an appointment, and try to show the daily inventory status so people are clear where there’s vaccine and where there isn’t,” says John Brownstein, the founder of VaccineFinder and chief information officer at Boston Children’s Hospital.
The initial launch in most states is limited to providers working directly with the federal government.
Alaska, Indiana, Iowa and Tennessee will provide locations for all vaccine providers, including private distributors.
The new tool provides limited help, though, as states will continue to iron out the problems of their individual — and varied — approaches to distributing the vaccines.
California has seen particular trouble as the plan to allow counties to handle their own distribution has seen shortages in most areas and a complete lack of distribution in some minority communities.
“We’re not doing enough. We need to do significantly more programs like this,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a mobile vaccination clinic in Inglewood, the Los Angeles Times reported. “We’ve got to get people back to work. We’ve got to get people back into church. And we’ve got to get people back into school.”