Biden said that the vaccine distribution program is moving at a slower than expected pace. He criticized the efforts of the Trump administration with regard to the vaccine distribution program. The federal government had earlier promised to deliver up to 20 million doses of vaccine before Jan 1. However, they are lagging far behind in the efforts, and the administration needs to improve the efficiency in the near future.
Several critics also have made similar comments in recent weeks on the vaccination program. The Operation Warp Speed of the federal government has done a good job by delivering about 10 million doses of vaccines to hospitals, nursing homes, and other immunization centers across the country. However, only about 2 million doses have been administered till now, and the authorities have failed to meet the target.
Biden Says Vaccine Distribution Going Slower Than Expected
This is the first time Biden has openly commented on the delay in administering the vaccines to Americans. Even the publicity campaign for the vaccination program was not on par with what was done by other nations. Biden, Fauci, and many other prominent personalities took the vaccine on camera to promote the safety of the vaccines. Apart from that, not many advertisements were broadcasted regarding the vaccination program.
The FDA has so far given emergency use authorization to vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. Both the companies have said that they are planning to increase the production of vaccines in the near future. The federal government has already placed orders for close to 200 million doses from these manufacturers. The companies are likely to deliver them in the next few months.
The Biden administration has promised to make vaccine distribution a priority as soon as he takes charge of the office on Jan 20. As of now, the funding available for the vaccination program is not enough, and the administration should consider increasing the budget in the near term as the number of covid cases is increasing at a rapid pace across the country. Several states are running out of ICU beds, and the number of hospitalizations is increasing all over the country. Given this situation, it is important to boost the vaccination program in the near term.
The recently announced Covid relief bill also provided provisions to boost immunizations. The federal authorities need to procure supplies and organize the distribution in a planned manner for the next few months. The CDC has indicated that about 70-85% of Americans need to be vaccinated to attain herd immunity in the future. Earlier, the agency had indicated that a percentage of 70 would be enough to reach herd immunity level. However, due to the availability of vaccines and an increasing number of cases across the country, the agency has now revised the figures.
The clinical trials of three other vaccine manufacturers are also in the final stages. In this regard, the companies may reach the FDA for emergency use authorization in the next few months. The FDA is monitoring the data, and the agency is likely to speed up the process of authorization in the next few months. In this situation, when more than few companies are able to supply vaccines, the federal government will be in a better position to supply vaccines to a majority of people.
According to estimates, close to 200 million people are likely to get vaccinated in the next four months. The number may increase by some margin if the FDA approves more companies for delivering the vaccines. BioNTech CEO has said that his company is willing to work with other companies in order to boost the production capacity across the world. The company is supplying vaccines in several other countries apart from the US.