Elected President Joe Biden on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration’s attempt to distribute and administer Covid vaccine shots, saying the government could not achieve its own goals.
“The Trump administration’s plan to distribute vaccines is lagging behind, far behind,” he said in a newsletter. “As I have long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should.”
He said his government would ‘move heaven and earth’ to speed up the distribution and administration of the Covid vaccines once he takes office on January 20.
To achieve the goal, he said, it would “increase five to six times the current rate to 1 million shots per day.” He said his team would act more aggressively to increase the survey, but even at 1 million a day, it would vaccinate most of the population for months.
“This is going to be the biggest operational challenge we have ever faced as a nation,” he added. “We’re going to do it. It’s going to take a lot of new effort. It’s not going on yet.”
Biden said his administration would also appeal to the Defense Production Act, a wartime law that allows the president to force companies to prioritize manufacturing for national security, to ensure manufacturers have enough materials needed to manufacture vaccine. He said he would also use the authority to expand the production of personal protective equipment such as masks.
He added that his administration would ‘set up vaccination sites and send mobile units to hard-to-reach communities’.
While more than 11.4 million doses of vaccine were distributed to states as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 2.1 million doses were administered. The agency notes that the data may leave behind the actual number of doses administered as states and jurisdictions report the data.
“A large difference between the number of doses distributed and the amount of doses administered is expected at this stage in the COVID vaccination program due to several factors, including delays in the reporting of administered doses, the management of available vaccine supplies by jurisdictions, and pending vaccination launches by the Federal Pharmacy Long-Term Care Program, ‘the agency said on its vaccination detection website.
Representatives of the CDC did not return the request from CNBC for further comment on the difference between the doses administered and the doses distributed.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admitted on CNN on Tuesday that the explosion of the vaccine was slower than expected.
“We are definitely not on the number we wanted to be at the end of December,” he said in an interview with Jim Sciutto. “I believe that, when we come in January, we are going to see an increase in momentum, which Jim, I hope, will enable us to catch up with the projected pace.”
Michael Pratt, a spokesman for Operation Warp Speed, reiterated that the number of doses reported by the CDC is likely to be an understatement due to delays in reporting data.
“Operation Warp Speed remains on track to have approximately 40 million doses of vaccine and allocate 20 million doses for first vaccinations by the end of December 2020, with the distribution of the 20 million first doses extending to the first week. of January, as states place orders for them, ”he said in a statement.
Dr Atul Gawande, a member of Biden’s advisory team Covid-19, told CBS This Morning on Tuesday that the incoming administration did not “have all the information needed to understand where the bottlenecks are.”
He also noted that he was concerned that the Trump administration was too optimistic about the vaccination timeline. Trump’s HHS secretary, Alex Azar, said the general public should be vaccinated by March.
“I’m worried I’m promising too much when things go normal again,” said Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard University.
He promised that the Biden administration would be more transparent about where the problems are, whether it be with the manufacture, distribution or administration of the shots.