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'Pure happenstance': 33-year-old Bucks executive Alex Lasry gets COVID-19 vaccine early
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'Pure happenstance': 33-year-old Bucks executive Alex Lasry gets COVID-19 vaccine early

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We've been talking a lot about how there is the  demand for the vaccine but the supply isn't really there. How many additional doses does the Biden administration plan to purchase? Well, it's in the process of buying another 200 million doses, Alex, and it wants to split those doses evenly between each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer and president idea is that these additional doses plus the 400 million doses the trump administration previously purchased will be enough shots to vaccinate 300 million Americans by either the end of summer or early fall. It's one thing to announce these plans to purchase more doses but can these drugmakers feasibly make that late summer deadline under their current production schedules? Well, it really depends on who you are listening to. Pfizer and Modern each say that they're on track to meet their  production deadlines. But a recent analysis from NPR says both drugmakers will need to almost double their current pace of production in order for that to happen. Moderna and Pfizer have each promised to deliver 100 million doses to the U.S. By the end of March. Now, NPR says each has been delivering an average of 4.3 million doses a week. But those weekly shipments will need to increase to at least 7.5 million doses if they want to make that March deadline. Now, in terms of just making the vaccine, it takes multiple weeks to go from raw materials to a finished product. Not only is the mrna used in the vaccine incredibly fragile and can be inactivated in the production process, equipment can break down, batches might not pass quality control. There could be shortages of ingredients. So in order for these accelerated deadlines to work these drugmakers really need every step of the process to go smoothly. Especially because they not only need to meet the U.S. Demand, but they also have to fulfill obligations they have made to other countries. 

Alex Lasry, a 33-year-old Milwaukee Bucks executive and son of a billionaire, received the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine this week at a senior living center in Milwaukee despite not being part of a group currently eligible for the shots in Wisconsin.

Bucks' Alex Lasry, George Hill, voting drive,

Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry, left, and then-Bucks guard George Hill walk through a Milwaukee neighborhood during a voter canvassing effort in October. Lasry received the COVID-19 vaccine this week at a senior living center in Milwaukee.

“This week I was vaccinated!” Lasry tweeted on Friday after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported it. “My wife got a call from her uncle that works in a facility that had extra doses that were going to go to waste if not used right away. With Lauren early in her pregnancy, we wanted to ensure our home, and entire community is safe for everyone.”

Lasry, a New York City native, is considering running for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin in 2022. He was also host committee chair for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was awarded to Milwaukee but moved online due to the pandemic.

Lasry, the son of Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, tweeted that his vaccination was “pure happenstance, but I’m incredibly thankful.” Alex Lasry told the newspaper his wife’s uncle who called about the vaccine is rabbi at Ovation Chai Point Senior Living.

“It’s safe, healthy and how we’re all going to finally get out of this pandemic,” he tweeted. “As the rollout continues, if available, please don’t let any vaccines go to waste! Get vaccinated!”

Gov. Tony Evers said during a Friday update on Wisconsin’s vaccination efforts that state health officials are encouraging providers to use all the vaccine they have.

“They should just get it in somebody’s arm,” Evers said.

As for Lasry, Evers said he’s not sure what happened.

Evers, who is 69, said he is waiting for his doctor to contact him about setting up an appointment for his first shot, because they became available to everyone over age 65 in Wisconsin starting Monday.

Bucks' Alex Lasry, George Hill, voting drive,

Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry, left, and then-Bucks guard George Hill walk through a Milwaukee neighborhood during a voter canvassing effort in October. Lasry received the COVID-19 vaccine this week at a senior living center in Milwaukee.

Lasry said he didn’t receive special treatment because of his position with the Bucks, his political aspirations or his father’s wealth.

“That has nothing to do with anything,” Lasry told the newspaper. “Honestly, if I wasn’t married to Lauren, I don’t know that I would have gotten a call or known about it.”

Evers said he would rather see providers administer vaccine outside the priority phases than let it go to waste, saying the number of doses administered outside the protocols is going to be a tiny percentage of all inoculations.

Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary for the state Department of Health Services, said sometimes providers can get more doses out of individual vials than planned and no one wants to waste any vaccine. Many providers keep waiting lists of people they can call quickly if doses end up exceeding appointments, she said.

“We don’t want a dose wasted,” she said. “We need all these doses in arms. That’s how this can happen, even with excellent planning.”

All vaccine providers have signed an agreement to provide doses according to the state’s priority phases, Van Dijk said. If providers perpetually violate the guidelines, state officials will talk with them and could decide to stop sending those providers any doses, she said.

“We’ve talked to a number of places and have seen changes in behavior on that,” she said. “(But) there is no way we can police every single vaccine that is put in an arm at the end of the day.”


[Correction: Alex Lasry is not a hedge fund manager, as the AP originally reported in this story. His father, Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, is chairman, chief executive and co-founder of the hedge fund Avenue Capital Group.]


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