Covid hotspots 'facing critical lack of oxygen' as ex-FDA boss calls for 'new jab strategy because rollout has failed'

AN EX-FDA boss has called for a new strategy for administering the Covid-19 vaccine as the current rollout is "not working".

Speaking with CBS, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the FDA, said that a new strategy needs to be adopted to get the vaccine out more quickly.

“We really need to get this vaccine out more quickly because this is really our only tool, our only backstop against the spread of these new variants," he told CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

"If we can get a lot of people vaccinated quickly, we might be able to get enough protective immunity into the population that this stops spreading at the rate that it is.

“So, we need to acknowledge that it’s not working. We need to hit the reset and adopt a new strategy in trying to get out to patients."

Dr. Gottlieb has suggested releasing all the available doses and to make the shots more widely available to those aged 65 and up.

The Trump administration has been holding back half of the available vaccines to make sure there is enough for everyone who is getting their first dose to later get their second vaccine.

“You have 40 million [doses] on the shelf. You have 50 million Americans above the age of 65," Dr. Gottlieb said.

"So, we have supply to push it out to that population more aggressively."

It comes as Covid hotspots are facing a critical lack of oxygen supplies.

Hospital administrators in California and Arizona have reported oxygen use is up to four times the pre-Covid rate.

According to NBC News, in some hospitals, oxygen has run out entirely forcing staff to scramble for resources.

"We had COVID people admitted just sitting in triage chairs didn't even have a bed for them, and they're like: 'Hey this is our last oxygen tank, like portable oxygen' and so I was like that was not something that was on my radar either in my hospital and so we were able to scramble and find a whole bunch more but you know within our system,” said Dr. Brandon Lawrence, a West Valley ER Physician told NBC.

Arizona's Banner Healthcare System, which cares for many of the state's coronavirus patients, says their oxygen use was up 30 percent from last year.

Cobre Valley Medical Center says they are using up to four times the amount of oxygen they usually do.

The US suffered its deadliest week since the start of the Covid pandemic as cases rise above 22million.

On Saturday, the number of Americans infected with the disease surpassed 22 million with more than 372,000 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Over the past week, the country has recorded 21,752 deaths, 3,500 of these happened on Saturday, according to the COVID-19 tracking Project.

Current hospitalizations are at 130,777, with the seven-day average in hospitalizations climbing to a record 130,350.

The seven-day average for deaths also broke a new record reaching 3,091.

And these figures will increase in the coming weeks due to people gathering over the holiday season, according to US government officials.

In an interview with NPR's morning edition, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the next couple weeks "will likely will be a reflection of the holiday season travel and the congregate settings that usually take place socially during that period of time. … So we believe things will get worse as we get into January."

On Saturday, more than 4,930 patients were in the ICU which is an all-time high, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The state is bringing in refrigerated trucks to store bodies as morgues and hospitals struggle.

California desperately needs more medical workers at facilities swamped by coronavirus patients, and almost no help is coming from a volunteer program that Gov. Gavin Newsom created at the start of the pandemic.

An army of 95,000 initially raised their hands, but just 14 are now working in the field after others failed to meet requirements and qualifications.

Stephanie Roberson, government relations director for the California Nurses Association said: "Unfortunately, it hasn´t worked out, and the goal is laudable."

Medical staff across California fear there won't be space to for new Covid patients as beds are already full.

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