Reprinted with permission from American Independent
Top infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that Donald Trump's administration has fallen far short of its projected goal for number of vaccines administered by the end of the year — about 18 million short, in fact.
The administration had previously promised to deliver and administer 20 million vaccines by the end of the year. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID Data Tracker, only about 2.1 million Americans had received the first dose of the vaccine as of Tuesday morning.
Fauci said on CNN Tuesday that such a rate was "certainly not at the numbers that we wanted to be at the end of December."
"Even if you undercount, 2 million as an undercount, how much undercount could it be?" Fauci added. "So, we are below where we want to be."
Trump officials responsible for vaccine rollout have admitted Operation Warp Speed failed in its goal to vaccinate 20 million by year's end.
"Exactly how fast the ramp-up of immunizations, shots in arms, is slower than we thought it would be," Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the Trump official helming distribution, said in a press conference last week. "And as I told you earlier, we're here to help the states to accelerate appropriately."
Army Gen. Gustave Perna, in charge of logistics of Operation Warp Speed, blamed delays on lag time between production and shipment.
"We all made the error or mistake of assuming that vaccine that's actually produced and being released is already available for shipment, when, in fact, there is a two-days lag between the time at which we generate a lot of data that shows this vaccine vial is actually safe and right and the time we can ship it," Slaoui said to CNN.
State officials have criticized Trump for his delay in signing the latest COVID relief bill — which he ultimately signed on Sunday — which, by extension, reportedly held up billions of dollars intended for vaccine distribution.
But Fauci said hope was on the horizon. "I believe that as we get into January, we are going to see an increase in the momentum," he said. "I hope allows us to catch up to the projected pace that we had spoken about a month or two ago when we were talking about the planned rollout of the vaccinations."
President-elect Joe Biden has faulted Trump for the delay on vaccine rollout as well. According to his pandemic advisory team, Biden intends to invoke the Defense Production Act to exponentially increase the rate of vaccine production once he takes office in January.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.