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Fauci Optimistic That U.S. Vaccination Delays Can Be Remedied

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gives the thumbs up after receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)

TOPLINE With the U.S. coronavirus vaccination effort falling short of its goals as some states have used only small portions of the supplies allocated to them, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed optimism that vaccinations will ramp up in the coming days but cautioned that more cooperation between the federal government and states would be necessary.

KEY FACTS

  • Asked in a Sunday interview with ABC’s This Week to account for the delay, Fauci cited the program’s “massive size” and said that a few “glitches” at the outset were to be expected. 
  • The federal government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine effort had aimed to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of the year, but as of December 30 just 4.2 million doses had been administered, Reuters reported.
  • The Trump administration has largely left the logistical burden of mass vaccinations to individual states. 
  • Ashish Jha, the dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, told the Washington Post last week that the idea that states can effectively distribute the vaccine to millions using their existing infrastructure is a “fantasy.”
  • Fauci said Sunday that expecting either the federal government or state governments to handle vaccine logistics on their own would be unrealistic; instead, he said a “combination of both” would be needed for the large-scale vaccination drive to be successful. 
  • In an effort to boost the number of Americans who receive the vaccine quickly, Fauci said last week that the federal government is considering altering its protocols by dispensing vaccine doses now that have been held back as second doses by the government. 

CRUCIAL QUOTE

“We are not where we want to be, no doubt about that, but I think we can get there,” Fauci said Sunday. 

BIG NUMBER

1.5 million. That’s how many Americans were vaccinated over the last 72 hours, Fauci said, about 500,000 per day. That’s an improvement over the 200,000 people per day rate Bloomberg reported last week, but still significantly lower than the 3 million people per day one expert told CNBC would be necessary to ensure all Americans who want a vaccine receive one by July. 

FURTHER READING

Large Numbers Of Health Care And Frontline Workers Are Refusing Covid-19 Vaccine (Forbes)

Here Are The States Breaking From CDC Guidelines On Vaccine Priority (Forbes)

United States Passes 20 Million Covid-19 Cases As Deaths Remain Near Record High (Forbes)

Biden Will Invoke Defense Production Act To Boost Vaccine Production, Adviser Says (Forbes)

By Sarah Hansen, Forbes Staff

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