Only about 2.6 million Americans had received a COVID-19 vaccine as of last December, which left the United States well behind the government’s target of vaccinating 20 million people this month.
So far, around 14 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been distributed to states, federal officials told reporters on Wednesday, with no goal of shipping 20 million doses this month.
In early December, officials said they had 40 million doses available this month, enough to vaccinate 20 million Americans on a two-dose regimen.
On December 4, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told Reuters that vaccinating 20 million Americans by the end of the year would be realistic, depending on the vaccination campaign.
Since then, officials have stated that they are required to provide enough doses without commenting on targets for actual vaccinations, as it has become clear that vaccinations are not reaching the number of doses distributed.
“The rapid availability and distribution of so many doses – with 20 million first doses made available for distribution just 18 days after the first vaccine was first approved – is testament to the success of Operation Warp Speed,” a US department for The spokesman for Health and Human Services said in a statement. Allocated but not allocated cans will be shipped in January.
The government has said that for every dose sent a second dose and a safety stock will be kept in reserve, bringing the total number of vaccine doses closer to 40 million.
Although the number of doses distributed was nearing the target of 20 million people, the pace of actual vaccinations was far slower than expected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The federal government has distributed the vaccines to the federal states. Now it is up to the federal states to administer them. Move!” US President Donald Trump tweeted.
Local health officials told Reuters that the lack of federal funding to distribute vaccines prevented them from hiring the staff they needed.
“We know it should be better and we’re working hard to make it better,” said Dr. Operation Warp Speed Chief Advisor Moncef Slaoui at a press conference.
U.S. vaccinations against the country’s 21 million healthcare workers began on December 14. Vaccinations against the 3 million residents of nursing homes, who also belong to the first priority group, soon followed.
According to a CDC advisory body, around 51 million key workers on the U.S. frontline, such as firefighters, police and teachers, and people over 75, should be next given a vaccine.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)