Federal health officials acknowledged at a news conference on Wednesday that sales of vaccines in the United States have started slower than expected, although they also expressed belief that the pace will accelerate in the coming weeks.
As of Wednesday, more than 14 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been distributed across the United States, up from 11.4 million doses on Monday morning. According to a dashboard maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Monday morning, only 2.1 million people had received the first dose of the vaccine.
The 2.1 million doses reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been underestimated due to the delay in reporting. An official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at another news conference on Wednesday that 2.6 million people received the first dose of the vaccine. No matter what the number is, it is far from reaching the goal set by federal officials this month to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of this year.
The day before the operating speeding press conference, President-elect Biden gave a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, criticizing Trump for managing these delays. Biden said that at the current vaccination rate, protecting the entire country “will take years rather than months.”
Biden said that when he took office on January 20, he would use a law called the National Defense Production Act to “order private companies to expedite the production of materials needed for vaccines and protective equipment.” The Trump administration has used the law to speed up manufacturing, and Mr. Biden has provided few details about how his plan will be different. He has promised to inject 100 million vaccines during the first 100 days of his term-if two doses of vaccine are used, about 50 million people will be injected.
Biden said: “This will be the biggest operational challenge we have ever faced as a country, but we have to complete it.”
In a tweet on Tuesday, President Trump appeared to blame the governor and said that “this should be distributed by the federal government, once the federal government brings the vaccine to designated areas.” But several governors recently stated that their state The reason for struggling is that they did not get enough money from the federal government.
At the “Operation Speed” press conference on Wednesday, General Gustave F. Perna, the head of logistics for the operation, stated that his team did not yet understand the reasons for these delays. He said that the CDC is collecting data to better understand the factors driving slow absorption. He said: “At this time in two weeks, I think it is inappropriate to improve specificity.”
But General Perna pointed out some possible influencing factors. In addition to the reporting lag, the holidays and winter weather also delayed the intake. Hospitals and other institutions that vaccinate are still learning how to store doses in very cold temperatures and inject them correctly. The state government has allocated many medicines to their long-term care facilities. This work is being accelerated and is expected to take several months.
To date, most of the vaccinated vaccines have been distributed in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. Both Dr. Slaoui and General Perna said that once pharmacies start offering vaccines in their stores, their launch speed will be greatly accelerated.
The federal government has reached an agreement with a number of pharmacy chains including Costco, Walmart and CVS, once the vaccine is widely available, it can be administered in its stores and elsewhere. General Pena said that so far, 40,000 pharmacies have participated in the program.
Dr. Sloy said: “What we should consider is the acceleration in the next few weeks, and I hope it will move in the right direction.”