Story at a glance

  • Speaking on the Today Show, Anthony Fauci acknowledges that the current vaccination infrastructure leaves much to be desired.
  • He anticipates under a Biden presidency, there will be more federal and state government coordination.

As President-elect Joe Biden announced his $1.9 trillion plan to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, leading infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci shed light Friday on some of the possible changes the Biden administration will make regarding the vaccine rollout.

Fauci acknowledged to NBC News’s Craig Melvin that as of now, the vaccine deployment has “not worked as smoothly as possible.” Fauci specifically referred to the timing of the vaccine rollout during the winter holidays as having made it difficult to cultivate a solid infrastructure that oversees injections. 

With approximately just one-third, or 33 percent, of available vaccine doses having been administered, Fauci emphasized the need for an efficient inoculation system.

“Obviously we have to do better than that,” he said, referring to the relatively small number of vaccine doses that have been administered versus the current supply. “You’ve got to have a good flow and you've got to be able to expeditiously get it into people’s arms.”

As Biden prepares to be sworn into office, Fauci says that he anticipates more coordination between the federal government and states to support burgeoning vaccination infrastructure.

He also notes that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice surrounding which demographics receive the initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine was not meant to be too restrictive. 

“If you have a dose, give it and don’t be so rigid as to those early designations,” Fauci said regarding the guidelines that state health care workers and long-term care residents receive the first batch of available doses. “The CDC never meant to be rigidly adhering to that.”

As more vaccinations become more widely circulated, Fauci remains confident Biden can succeed in administering 100 million doses in 100 days.

“I believe it's doable,” Fauci said. 

Stating that he and Biden’s team have discussed this plan, Fauci thinks the lofty vaccination goals are “quite feasible,” noting that the U.S. currently moved from around 500,00 to 750,000 vaccinations per day.

“If we get about 70 percent to 85 percent of the people in the country vaccinated, we likely will get to that umbrella of herd immunity, that you'll start to see a serious turnaround of infections, so people can feel, and I think it is possible, after several months of doing this, that we can start to approaching some form of normality,” Fauci said.

Published on Jan 15, 2021