Feds Likely to Miss Goal of 20 Million Coronavirus Vaccinations in December

The CDC reported that more than 2.1 million people had received their first dose of the vaccine as of Monday, though that number is likely to be an undercount


WITH ONLY A COUPLE DAYS left in December, the Trump administration looks likely to fall short of its goal to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of the year.

As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded more than 2.1 million administered doses of vaccines. The agency said that 11.4 million total doses had been delivered to states.

The real number of administered doses is likely higher, as officials report a lag time between giving the shot and its recording on the tracker. Even so, the number is not likely to reach 20 million by Friday.

Leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told CNN on Tuesday that U.S. vaccinations are “certainly not at the numbers that we wanted to be at the end of December.”

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“Even if you undercount, 2 million as an undercount, how much undercount could it be?” Fauci said. “So, we are below where we want to be.”

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to criticize the speed of the vaccine rollout in a speech Tuesday afternoon, according to Axios. On Monday, Biden said his transition team isn’t getting “all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas.”

Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday that by the end of this week a total of 15.5 million doses will be delivered to states. That estimate would make it impossible for 20 million people to be vaccinated by Friday.

Giroir said it would be the first week in January that states would have access to 20 million doses.

Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, tweeted that he was “incredibly frustrated” with the vaccine rollout speed.

“Did we not know that vaccines were coming?” he asked. “Is vaccine administration a surprise?”

[MAP: The Spread of Coronavirus]

Jha said it is possible to reach the 20 million goal sometime in early January but added that a lack of planning and adequate funding for what happens when the vaccines reach the states is slowing the process.

The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs pushed back against Jha’s tweet, saying that funds were granted to states and territories in September and December. It defended the CDC, arguing that the agency has been “working closely with jurisdictions.”

Government officials have been gradually lessening their vaccine expectations for the month of December. Originally, they estimated that 100 million doses could be available by the end of the year. That was lowered to 40 million and then to 20 million.

Meanwhile, coronavirus hospitalizations have hit a record high, with more than 121,000 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.



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