Ashish Jha on how to vaccinate all seniors and teachers by end of March

Dr. Ashish Jha says it is possible to vaccinate everyone over the age of 65, teachers, and school staff in the United States by the end of March — before the coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom becomes dominant. 

The dean of the Brown University School of Public Health laid out his thinking in a thread on Twitter late Wednesday, stressing that the goal of getting a COVID-19 vaccine to every teacher, school staff, and individuals over 65 in the coming weeks is “doable.”

The effort may be hard, he wrote, but the doctor said he’s optimistic that it can be achieved as long as “we do our job.”

“We should have the supply,” Jha wrote. “We will need to put 2.5M doses into arms every day.”

With 26 million individuals in the United States needing their second dose, 35 million people over 65 still needing a first shot, and about 12 million teachers and school staff waiting for vaccinations, the doctor calculated that the country needs 75 million doses, assuming 80 percent of those eligible actually accept the vaccine, and there’s no overlap between the groups. 

According to Jha, with 17 million doses already in freezers across the country and another 82 million expected to be in production and distributed by the end of March, there will more than enough vaccinations to meet his plan, which doesn’t factor in the expected approval of the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson

“Bottom line? We should have enough vaccines for high risk folks before UK variant dominant,” he wrote. “Need flawless execution. But it’s doable. And I think we can do this.” 

Health officials have warned that the UK variant, which is believed to be more contagious, is expected to become the dominant source of new COVID-19 infections this spring.

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