With the vaccine rollout in the country in utter disarray, health officials in the Biden administration are cautiously trying to both contain expectations and express their optimism.
In a series of interviews over the weekend, officials warned that states could face vaccine shortages in the near term, while some states are already running out of supplies — or running out. On the other hand, officials remained confident they would be able to meet the government’s goal of getting 100 million doses of weapons in their first 100 days in office — a goal that has been criticized as both too ambitious and unimpressed. ambitious enough.
With 95 days to go until their target deadline, officials have made it clear how much work they will have to do to get the vaccinations on track.
“One of the biggest problems right now is that I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have,” Rochelle Walensky, the newly appointed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview on Fox News Sunday† “And if I can’t tell you, I can’t tell the governors, and I can’t tell the state health officials.” Without that information, it’s difficult or impossible for local authorities to plan an effective vaccine distribution, Walensky added.
Since vaccine distribution began in December, the effort has been dogged by criticism of inefficiencies. Reports trickled in from several states that vaccine doses were languishing unused in refrigerators or were being distributed randomly in last-ditch efforts to get them into battle. To date, more than 41 million doses have been distributed to states and jurisdictions, but only 21.8 million doses are known to have been administered, of which only 3.2 million were to people receiving their second dose.
Still, the pace of vaccination has picked up since its inception, with daily doses now exceeding a million. The positive news has led to criticism that Biden’s goals of 100 million doses in 100 days are too low.
But officials with the administration have pushed back. That goal of a hundred million doses is “a floor; it’s not a ceiling,” said Vivek Murthy, Biden’s surgeon general nominee, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
In addition, many states are now reporting that they are running out of vaccine, raising the question of whether the rate of one million vaccines per day is sustainable. Over the weekend, in particular, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that the state was out of vaccine doses and wouldn’t have any more until early this week.
“I think the supply will probably be the most restrictive constraint in the beginning,” Walensky said on Sunday. “And we really hope we’ll have a lot more production after those first 100 days.”