Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, speaks to Alex Azar, the unpictured Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), before receiving the Cova-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc. during an event at the NIH Clinical that Center Masur Auditorium in Bethesda, Maryland, the United States, on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The National Institutes of Health are hosting a livestream vaccination event to kickstart the organization’s efforts for its workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Photographer: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press / Bloomberg via Getty Images
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The slower-than-expected adoption of Covid vaccines in the US has been “disappointing,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, on Thursday.
Officials from Operation Warp Speed, President Donald Trump’s vaccination program, had previously announced that the country would immunize 20 million people with the first two-dose vaccine against Covid-19 in December. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of more than 12.4 million doses distributed, nearly 2.8 million were actually administered.
“We would have liked to see it go smoothly and have 20 million doses administered to humans by the end of 2020 (year). That was the projection. Obviously it didn’t and that’s disappointing,” Fauci said on NBC’s Today “Show. “Hopefully the increasing momentum in the first few weeks of January will get us to where we want to be.”
States and counties need more resources to speed up the pace of vaccination, Fauci said. Trump has been trying for the past few days to defend his administration’s vaccine roll-out by saying it is the responsibility of states to administer the shots once they are delivered by Operation Warp Speed.
Michael Pratt, a spokesperson for the program, said earlier this week that the CDC’s data is likely to be incorrect due to delays in reporting.
“Operation Warp Speed remains on track to deliver approximately 40 million vaccine doses and 20 million primary vaccination doses by the end of December 2020. The distribution of the 20 million primary doses extends into the first week of January when states place orders she, “he said in a statement.
Dr. Paul Offit, director of the vaccine education center at the Pennsylvania Children’s Hospital, said Thursday on CNN that the federal government has invested heavily in vaccine development, but has failed to achieve those efforts in terms of distribution and administration.
“With the urgency we put into making a vaccine and the money we put into making a vaccine, we spent $ 24 billion on what was essentially a Manhattan Project-style response. .. That’s the vaccine part, “he said. “Now comes the vaccination part that is just as difficult and will equally require this Manhattan Project-like response.”
“The federal government needs to step up its response to vaccination in the same way that it stepped up its response to making the vaccine,” said Offit, who is also a voting member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products.
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health, called for “mass vaccinations” Thursday. He said the government should consider converting places like polling stations, soccer stadiums and race tracks into temporary vaccination clinics.
“We have to vaccinate about two million people a day … versus 150,000 people a day. And I just don’t see the urgency,” he said said CNN. “We have to switch to mass vaccination mode and we have to do that now.”