Story at a glance
- More than 16 million doses have been administered with close to 36 million distributed across the country.
- That’s a far cry from the 20 million doses the previous administration promised to administer before the end of December.
- “The president has made this his top priority,” Fauci told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.
Newly sworn in President Biden has vowed to provide 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days in office as part of his administration’s strategy to rein in the raging pandemic that has left more than 400,000 Americans dead.
Carrying out Biden’s promise will be a challenge as current vaccination efforts in the U.S. are sluggish.
More than 16 million doses have been administered with close to 36 million distributed across the country, a far cry from the 20 million doses the previous administration promised to administer before the end of December. The snag has been a consequence of the lack of funds for large-scale vaccination efforts, bad communication between the federal government and state and local health departments and unclear federal guidance on the distribution of vaccines.
The administration also needs to authorize more vaccine candidates, manufacture more vaccine doses and persuade a skeptical American public that the vaccines are safe and key to ending the coronavirus crisis.
On Thursday, Biden released his national strategy to end the pandemic, which includes expanding the number of federal vaccination sites across the country, using the Defense Production Act to speed up manufacturing of testing and vaccine supplies and expanding the eligibility of those who can receive the jab.
So is carrying out 100 million vaccinations in 100 days doable? Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Biden’s chief medical adviser, says it is.
“The president has made this his top priority,” Fauci told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.
“As you know, his goal is to get 100 million people vaccinated within the first 100 days of his presidency. I feel fairly confident that that’s going to be not only that, but maybe even better,” Fauci said.
Biden administration officials believe they have enough supply and resources to hit the target, although they said they will need funding from Congress to expand vaccinations to the wider population. Biden is asking for more than $400 million for the pandemic response as part of a proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
“I think it’s an attainable goal,” Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, told Kaiser Health News. “I think it’s going to be extremely challenging.”
Another challenge facing the Biden administration is the lack of information-sharing by the Trump administration during the transition. Officials are just beginning to evaluate the supply and production, and a report from CNN claims Biden is “inheriting a nonexistent vaccine plan” from the Trump administration.
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