Biden to take Trump to task over lagging pace of v
President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday planned to criticize the Trump administration
In remarks in Delaware Tuesday afternoon, Biden was expected to accuse the outgoing administration of falling short of what's needed and what was promised, according to a Biden transition official.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government's top infectious disease expert, said in an interview with CNN Tuesday that "we are below where we want to be."
"We certainly are not at the numbers that we wanted to be at the end of December," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
Trump said in October that "we're on track to deliver at least 100 million doses of a vaccine this year."Yuki Iwamura/ReutersA patient at Crown Heights Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, waits to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Brooklyn, New York, Dec. 22, 2020.
But with just a few days left in 2020, it appears the United States will fall far short of even that.MORE: Coronavirus live updates: Kamala Harris gets vaccine, encourages others to join her
As of Tuesday morning, only 11.5 million doses had been distributed and officials said they don’t expect to hit the 20 million mark until the first week of January.
Also, while Azar suggested that would be enough for 20 million people to be "vaccinated," it’s not clear how many people will have actually received the shots. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.1 million people have been recorded as receiving a dose. But that number isn’t a good indication of real-time injections as it’s up to states and local authorities to report data and are given several days to do so.
"We know that’s underreported because there’s a three to seven-day delay. But we expect that to ramp up," said Adm. Brett Giroir, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official, said in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday.Patrick Semansky/APDr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gestures after receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health, Dec. 22, 2020, in Bethesda, Md.
Overall, the final numbers are a far cry of what Trump and his top aides promised early in the year, such as when Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to the federal government's vaccine program, said in May he was "confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020."
Federal officials remained hopeful the pace would pick up.
Fauci said he thought "that as we get into January, we are going to see an increase in the momentum" that, he said, he hoped "allows us to catch up to the projected pace that we had spoken about a month or two ago."MORE: Tool tells when you may be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine
For months, the Trump administration has touted the support it has provided pharmaceutical companies with producing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines, helping lead to more than one receiving authorization for emergency use in record time.
But while its vaccine program, called "Operation Warp Speed," has focused on getting millions of doses from the manufacturers to hospitals across the country, the federal government has largely left the final steps to overstretched state health departments. Experts have raised questions about whether it has done enough to help hospitals and pharmacies work through logistical challenges.Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen/The Republican, Pool via APA pharmacy manager at CVS Health prepares COVID-19 vaccine doses at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Mass., Dec. 29, 2020.
"The biggest problem is getting the vaccine from the states into people's arms," Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. "There's a lot of steps and there hasn't been much planning. There hasn't been much investment.
"And we're starting to see departments of health that are really stretched having to try to figure out how to get all these vaccines into people," he added. "And it's going much more slowly than I think the federal authorities thought it would."
Giroir notes that all public health operates through state and local communities. For example, he said, the U.S. rolls out flu vaccines every year in much the same way.
It would be a dramatic departure if the federal government decided who gets vaccinations and where in the states. Administration officials say their role has been to provide money, supplies and support.
"The federal government doesn’t invade Texas or Montana and provide shots to people. We support the state and locals doing that," Giroir told MSNBC.
Indeed, the federal government has left decisions about who actually can receive up to state and regional officials, with the CDC making non-binding recommendations. So far, though, healthcare workers have generally been prioritized across the country, in line with those guidelines.MORE: Members of Congress send mixed messages on getting vaccinated
The Trump administration's approach to vaccine distribution to some degree has mirrored its approach to testing for COVID-19, which it also left largely up to the states to administer. As a result, a confused, haphazard testing regime across the country left massive gaps in public health officials' understanding of the viruses' spread – crippling the country's response to the pandemic.
It was not immediately clear whether the vaccine rollout would follow a similar path with Giroir and other officials insisting that the vaccinations will ramp up dramatically in coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, got the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday morning. Biden received his first dose last week, while outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and his wife got theirs the week before.
ABC News' Molly Nagle contributed to this report.
Source : abcnews.go.com