As more vaccines get secured, Biden warns of obstacles ahead


The Biden administration said Thursday it had obtained an additional 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, enough to vaccinate every adult American, but President Biden warned that logistical hurdles would likely mean that many Americans would not be vaccinated until the end of World War II. the summer.

The additional doses amount to a 50 percent increase in the vaccine, and the administration will give the number of doses that Mr. Biden said last month he needed to cover 300 million people by the end of the summer. But those shots would still be hard to get into people’s arms. Both vaccines are two-dose regimens, three and four weeks apart. Mr. Biden lamented the “enormous” logistical challenge he faces during his appearances at the National Institutes of Health. He also expressed his outright frustration with the previous administration.

“Getting vaccinated is one thing,” said Mr. Biden. “It’s another thing to have pollinators.”

The Department of Health and Human Services said Pfizer and Moderna would each supply 300 million doses by the end of July, in “regular increments”.

Management is looking towards a gradual process. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s chief infectious disease expert, said Thursday morning that as early as April, any American could start looking for a vaccine in an “open season” that would extend beyond the priority groups.

Dr. Fauci said: “By April, this will be what I would like to call, for better formulation,” open season “. Interview With “Today” on NBC. Specifically, almost everyone and anyone in any class can start vaccination.

But the problem might be getting doses for people who don’t look for them easily.

Biden carefully avoided draining the White House on criticism of his predecessor, but on Thursday directed direct targeting of Donald J. Trump for what he said had failed to establish a mass vaccination process. The president, who said he promised to speak publicly to Americans about the challenges of the pandemic, blamed Mr. Trump for creating a significant case by failing to oversee the creation of a simplified vaccine distribution program. “The vaccine program was in a much worse condition than my team and I had anticipated,” said Mr. Biden.

“While scientists did their work discovering vaccines in record time, my predecessor – I’ll be very frank about that – did not do his job preparing for the enormous challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of people,” Biden added.

“It was a big mess,” he said. “It’s going to take a while to fix it, to be honest with you.”

Trump administration health officials rejected those suggestions, citing hundreds of briefings that Department of Health and Human Services officials have given to the incoming health team, including allocating and distributing the vaccine.

Highly decentralized plans for vaccine distribution and administration have been developed, giving state and local health departments authority once doses are delivered, with professional staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense.

Officials involved in the administration’s previous distribution plans said late last year that outside of the first few weeks, when they carefully managed the influx of second dose reserves, their plan had always been to ship doses as soon as they were available, and they never meant it. To store doses.

The deal of an additional 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine helps fulfill a promise Biden made in January to increase supplies to cover more residents. He said at the time that the administration was finalizing this deal with manufacturers as part of his larger pledge that about 300 million Americans could receive a dose of the vaccine by End of summer or early fall.

On Thursday, Biden said his administration “has now bought enough vaccine to vaccinate all Americans.”

Dr. Nicole Lowry, who was the Assistant Secretary of Health for Preparedness and Response under President Barack Obama, said vaccine hesitancy could affect how quickly some vaccine enthusiastic Americans get the vaccine, but that supply means more work to get people vaccinated.

“We will reach more and more people, and you will have to make an extra effort to reach more people,” she said. “You have to hope that as supply continues to open up, the public still has a lot of demand for vaccines. That’s really unknown.”

The government had already secured 400 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which were approved. Emergency distribution – Doses are expected by the end of June. On Thursday, Mr. Biden said the companies would now hand them over by the end of May.

A third manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize the single-dose vaccine for emergency use, a decision that could be made by the end of the month and to allow the vaccine to be distributed in the first week of March. . But the company is still trying to prove it can produce the vaccine at its plant in Baltimore on a large scale.

Federal officials have so far refused to disclose how much of this vaccine would be ready for distribution if it bypasses regulatory hurdles, but they warn that an influx of new doses from Johnson & Johnson is not expected soon.

“We haven’t found that the level of manufacturing allows us to get the same amount of vaccine that we think we need to get out of the gate,” Andy Slavitt, a White House epidemiologist, said recently.

To date, only about 10 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. On Thursday, the CDC said about 34.7 million people I receive At least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, including about 11.2 million people who have been fully vaccinated.

The frequency of vaccinations has increased steadily in recent weeks. The average number of daily snaps is now around 1.5 million, up from 1.1 million two weeks ago. At that rate, Biden would easily fulfill his promise to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.

State and federal health officials say the main obstacle to vaccinating more people at this point is a lack of supplies. The administration was looking for any possible way to speed up production, including one potential hack in which Moderna would fill its vials with more doses, potentially getting millions of extra doses sooner.

But Mr. Biden faces a variety of long-standing manufacturing constraints, including the limited open space around the world to make more vaccines, and the delicate and complex nature of vaccine production.

White House officials cited what they claim was their work to increase the weekly supply of vaccines by 28 percent. But these doses resulted from an expected increase in manufacturing.

Unlike the previous administration, the White House pandemic team informed governors of expected supplies in three-week increments, so state health departments will better know how to plan for the future.

And they took a more aggressive approach in using federal resources to obtain gun strikes. The White House announced this week that it was setting up five new vaccination centers, including three in Texas and two in New York specifically aimed at vaccinating people of color. The management also said It will aim to ship 1 million doses of the vaccine To 250 federally subsidized community health centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The new federal pharmacist vaccination program kicked off this week.

On Friday, the administration announced that it will send more than 1,000 active-duty soldiers to Covid-19 vaccination centers across the country run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said it hopes to establish nearly 100 vaccine sites nationwide early this month, and that it will spend $ 1 billion on vaccine measures, including community vaccination sites.

Sherrill Jay Stolberg Contribute to reporting.

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