The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Photo by U.S. Secretary of Defense/ CC BY 2.0

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

If you're one of the many millions of Americans who can't get a COVID-19 vaccine, know that Donald Trump never had a vaccination distribution plan for the country.

Though COVID-19 raged throughout Trump's last year in office, he did nothing to prepare for vaccine distribution. Consider that lost time, less lives saved.

Our DCReport co-founder, David Cay Johnston, predicted this three years before the pandemic. "If a virus were to hopscotch around the planet on jetliners and create a pandemic like the one that killed his grandfather in 1918, Trump would not know what to do," Johnston wrote.

Trump's criminal ineptitude and apathy crushed the vaccination effort before it could get off the ground, presenting President Joe Biden's administration with a monumental disaster.

"The vaccine program was in worse shape than we anticipated," Biden said this week. Two days earlier, his chief of staff, Ron Klain, said Trump left no vaccine distribution plan. Trump repeatedly said the Pentagon would distribute vaccines, but there was no plan, nor effort, to do it.

"The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals, to the community, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's Meet the Press.

Biden's team hit the ground sprinting, trying to sets up vaccination centers in stadiums and gymnasiums and deploy thousands of clinical staff from military medical personnel and federal agencies to administer the shots.

600 Million Doses

Among the executive orders signed in Biden's first days of his presidency were some addressing vaccine distribution. Biden urged patience as he shared his plan to purchase additional vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna. Delivery is expected by summer, bringing the total purchased doses to 600 million.

"This is a wartime undertaking," Biden said. The characterization is "not hyperbole," he added.

Vaccinating a country of almost 330 million people takes careful planning and execution. And that goes way beyond just trying to secure enough of the vaccine – which Trump and his team royally screwed up when they rejected last fall Pfizer's offer of millions of additional doses.

In addition to the actual medication, there must be a plan in place for securing all the additional supplies necessary to administer the vaccine, from syringes and needles to alcohol swabs.

There also must be a plan to ensure that the vaccine gets administered by trained healthcare personnel, which means providing training for additional personnel for an effort of this scale.

On top of that, there must be meticulous records on the city, state and federal levels noting who got which vaccine and when to ensure people receive the two shots currently required.

In Phoenix, some residents who volunteered at inoculation sites and were given the first vaccination shot couldn't secure appointments for the second dose because no records were kept. After The Arizona Republic broke that story the state fixed the problem.

But confusion, fear and pandemonium rage from coast to coast as hoarding and uneven distribution leave states unprepared to vaccinate the public. A Wild West mentality has taken hold.

Teenagers, Shots, And Selfies

Case in point: Philadelphia let college students with little to no healthcare background distribute vaccines. The city tapped a start-up, Philly Fighting COVID, run by self-described "college kids," to set up the first and largest mass COVID-19 vaccination site in the city.

The results were shambolic, with senior citizens left in tears as appointments were not honored. Unsupervised teenagers instead vaccinated each other and took selfies, according to The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Prosecutors are chasing down claims that the 22-year-old CEO pocketed vials of vaccine. Meanwhile, Philadelphia cut ties with Philly Fighting COVID.

On the left coast, things aren't much better. California's slow and disorganized distribution efforts led the government to outsource statewide vaccination distribution to private insurer Blue Shield of California, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Blue Shield spent more than $1 million on Gov. Gavin Newsom's 2018 election and nearly $1.3 million in recent state lobbying efforts.

Kaiser Permanente, a health maintenance organization that provides services for more than 9 million Californians, will run a separate program for its members while assisting the state effort.

And in a recent virtual panel, members of the American Medical Association discussed the disappointingly slow efforts at the state level to administer vaccines.

Because Trump did nothing, COVID-19 has killed 430,000 people in the United States in less than a year—more Americans killed in four years of World War II combat. That's Trump's legacy.

From Your Site Articles
Related Articles Around the Web

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Reps. Matt Gaetz, left, and Marjorie Taylor Greene on their "America First" tour.

Photo from Rep. Matt Gaetz's verified Twitter

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

At a time when Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is facing a federal sex trafficking investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has jumped to his defense and joined forces with him for a fundraising tour. The far-right MAGA Republicans are both aggressive fundraisers, repeatedly stressing their unwavering devotion to former President Donald Trump. But according to Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger, the Gaetz/Greene tour has "spent four times as much as" it has raised.

Keep reading... Show less