It sounds good on paper: 100 million Americans vaccinated against COVID in 100 days. That's the pledge of President Biden, who spent much of the day Thursday, his first full day in office, outlining his plan to combat the virus and signing executive orders toward that end. Some, however, say that while that 1 million-a-day goal originally seemed ambitious, it may now fall short of what we need. Instead, to effectively end the pandemic by the end of the summer, 2 million to 3 million Americans would need the shot daily, a Baylor College of Medicine Vaccine expert tells Politico. If just 1 million people per day got vaccinated, it would take till next year to control the virus. Plus, Biden's proposal may only be a "modest bump" up from what's already taking place, the outlet notes, citing a Bloomberg tracker that shows an average of nearly 940,000 shots administered daily over the past week or so. More from around the internet:
- First, a bit of confusion: On Thursday, sources told CNN that the Trump administration had left behind no clear vaccination strategy for Biden, and that "we are going to have to build everything from scratch." Not so, Dr. Anthony Fauci noted at an afternoon presser. "We're certainly not starting from scratch," he said. "We're coming in with fresh ideas, but also some ideas [from] ... the previous administration. You can't say it was absolutely not usable at all."
- Obstacles: Some of the roadblocks to achieving the herd immunity we need—Fauci puts that number at around 85% of the population—include dwindling supplies at some sites of both the vaccine and the syringes needed to administer it; no centralized database keeping tabs on who got their first shot (meaning some might forget to get their second); a dearth of people to administer the shots, especially in rural areas; and convincing people who are uninsured, undocumented, or skeptical of the vaccine to get it.
- The manufacturers: Per the New York Times, Pfizer and Moderna have pledged together to deliver 200 million doses by the end of March. Johnson & Johnson may also soon add its vaccine into the mix. All told, that could result in more than 2 million shots per day in the US.
- Biden's reaction: The president bristled when a reporter asked him Thursday about the "100 days" pushback. "When I announced it, you all said it's not possible," he said, per the Times. "Come on, give me a break, man. It’s a good start."
- In the now: Health experts say there's a more immediate problem: clearing up issues at state and local vaccination sites, where shots using their existing vaccine supply have been stalled—a holdup that could see "tens of millions" of doses wasted.
- The plan: Stat lays out some of the Biden administration's strategy to speed things up, including using the Defense Production Act to boost production of key supplies, as well as some "controversial ideas," such as decreasing the amount of vaccine each patient gets.
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