Dr. Rochelle Walensky, new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, spoke to the media this past Sunday admitting that America doesn’t have enough Covid-19 vaccines to meet every states’ specific needs. The announcement comes after states like New York and Georgia have begun pleading with the federal government to send them more doses.
“Right now, that is the pressure point that I am feeling and by the end of March or so I really do hope our production scale has scaled up dramatically and that we actually have way more than we have right now.”
This Sunday America surpassed more than 25 million Covid-19 cases and 417,900 deaths recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. President Joe Biden initially promised that 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine would be distributed within the first 100 days that he’s in office, but if the nation continues at the rate it’s going the entire country would be lucky to have received their first dose by the end of the year.
“Yes, we have to go faster…I think the supply is going to be the most limiting constraint early on,” Walensky said, adding that the nation was able to complete its goal of one million doses every day this past Saturday with around 1,060,000 doses administered. “We’re really hoping that after the first 100 days we’ll have much more production, not just for these two vaccines, but we’re hopeful we’ll have another one from Johnson & Johnson in the weeks ahead and perhaps a fourth one coming down the pipeline. So we’re really hoping that we’ll have more vaccines and that will increase the pace at which we can do the vaccinations,” she added.
When asked about the difficulty that the Biden administration is facing in regards to inheriting Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic, Walensky explained that “one of the biggest issues right now is how much vaccine doses America has. If I can’t tell that to you then I can’t tell it to the governors and I can’t tell it to the state health officials. If they don’t know how much vaccine they’re getting, not just this week but next week and the week after, they can’t plan. They can’t figure out how many sites to roll out, how many vaccinators they need and how many appointments to make for the public,’ Walensky said.
“The fact that we don’t know today, five days into this administration and weeks into planning how much vaccine we have, just gives you a sense of the challenges we’ve been left with from the previous administration.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on Biden to “do whatever he can to increase the supply,” claiming that the state’s vaccine stockpile may already be exhausted completely. Cuomo explained that “the federal government allocates dosages by week, and yesterday we exhausted all five weeks allocation. We are now starting to receive week 6 allocations which trickle in during the week, they’re delivered by Washington to individual locations.
“We’ll be getting 250,000 dosages in week 6, but it could take up to 17 weeks to inoculate the seven million New Yorkers currently eligible for the vaccine unless the federal government begins to send more.”
Joe Biden’s pick for Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, claimed that “the Biden administration is saying the federal government will have a much heavier hand than the previous administration.” Data from the CDC directly showed that 20,537,990 vaccines have been administered in the US to date.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.