The Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution program needs a big shot in the arm, because at the current rate, it will take almost ten years to vaccinate enough Americans to get the pandemic under control, a shocking new NBC News analysis shown Tuesday.
The goal of Operation Warp Speed, a private-public partnership led by Vice President Mike Pence to produce and deliver safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines to the U.S. public, is to ensure that 80 percent of the 330 , 7 million people in the country received the shots in late June.
To reach the goal, a little over 3 million people need to get the shots a day, math shows.
But so far only about 2 million people – mostly prominent health care workers and some residents of nursing homes – have received their first shot of the 11.5 million doses delivered in the past two weeks, a review by NBC News of data from federal and state agencies it showed.
“I do not think we will be able to distribute the 20 million doses promised”, said dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Donald Trump and a board member of Pfizer, said Tuesday. on CNBC.
In other coronavirus developments:
- Under-elected Vice President Kamala Harris received Moderna’s vaccination against Covid-19 on Tuesday, just over a week after President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose. “It was easy,” said a masked Harris, laughing. “I barely felt it.”
- The pandemic caused millions of Americans’ dreams to collapse and many more “caught on time”, an NBC News report found.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Rejected an attempt by Democrats to increase Covid-19 aid from $ 600 to $ 2,000.
- Russia’s death toll from the coronavirus could be three times higher than reported.
- HIV-positive people were initially excluded from both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials.
- Rapper Lil Pump has been banned from JetBlue for life after refusing to wear a mask during a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles on Sunday.
- A tearful plea by California nurse Gayana Chuklansev that people “should stop being indifferent” during the pandemic went viral on TikTok.
“Georgia, for example, just started vaccinating nursing homes yesterday, and the vaccine is already on the market – it has been approved for almost three weeks,” Gottlieb said. “So, we’ll be late to some of these facilities.”
But once people start getting the first shot, he said, “you will soon see an impact on the most vulnerable population, I think.”
The data, according to Gottlieb, who managed the FDA from 2017 to 2019, show that the vaccine is ‘partially protective after the first dose’.
“We do not know exactly what the scope of the protection is and how long it will last,” he said. “But there is evidence that there is partial protection after the first dose.”
Later Tuesday, Biden blew up the Trump administration for “shooting shortfall” in the rate at which Americans are being vaccinated.
“We are grateful to the companies, doctors, scientists, researchers and participants in clinical trials and Operation Warp Speed for developing the vaccines quickly,” he said. “But as I have long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should.”
Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, and dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, both warned that the U.S. would be far less than the projections of Trump officials that every person who wants a chance can get one by spring.
Pence, who got his first shot earlier this month, is currently on vacation in Colorado. But in a statement, Operation Warp Speed spokesman Michael Pratt insisted there was an expected delay between shots going into the arms and the information being reported.
Trump, who for months underestimated the danger of the pandemic that now infected more than 19.4 million people and claimed more than 336,000 lives in the US, promised in September that 100 million doses would be sent out by the end of the year. word.
But in December, when the first doses were delivered, Operation Warp Speed’s top scientist, dr. Moncef Slaoui, the projection reduced to 20 million.
“Well, we are definitely not at the end we wanted to be at the end of December,” said dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s biggest epidemiologist, told CNN on Tuesday.
Dr. Brett Giroir, who is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health and the Covid-19 Test Tsar of the Trump administration, told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday that 2 million shots had already been fired, ” an underestimation is’.
But he agrees that they will not achieve the goal of vaccinating 20 million people before the new year.
“Once again we were in the Christmas holidays last week, even for hospitals delaying things,” he said. “And it’s only been 15 days since the first vaccines were given.”
That said, more vaccines are getting more people, Giroir said.
“We want to do it faster,” he said. “I would like everyone to be vaccinated by now; we will have another 30 million doses in January, and another 50 million doses in February, and that will take hold very quickly, especially in our vulnerable communities.”