This is in stark contrast to the Trump administration plan on rolling out vaccines
President-elect Joe Biden announced plans to release nearly all available coronavirus vaccine doses “to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,” his transition team said Friday. This is a sharp contrast from the current administration’s handling of the vaccine.
Federal officials within the Trump administration have been holding back enough vaccine doses to guarantee everyone who received the first dose would have the backup booster available. Biden disagrees, saying that more Americans need to be vaccinated immediately while manufacturers continue to make more boosters.
“The president-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,” spokesman T.J. Ducklo said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. Biden “supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now.”
Biden’s plan comes as the U.S. hits another daily death record of 4,085 due to COVID-19 on Thursday. That is more than 200 deaths above Wednesday’s record, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University.
It also comes at the same time a letter from eight Democratic governors — including Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan — begging the current administration to release all available doses as soon as possible. “The failure to distribute these doses to states who request them is unconscionable and unacceptable,” the governors wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times.
As of yesterday, the Trump administration had shipped more than 21 million vaccine doses, but only 5.9 million people had received a dose. This is partly due to hospitals and staff being overrun with treating new COVID-19 patients not having the resources to plan and vaccinate hospital workers and at-risk older Americans.
Biden has promised that 100 million doses of the vaccine would be administered by his 100th day in office. The American Hospital Association estimates we would need to vaccinate 1.8 million people a day, every day, from Jan. 1 to May 31, to have widespread immunity by this summer.
But many worry Biden’s plan may leave those needing the booster, without. Officials from the Food and Drug Administration have spoken out strongly against changing the dosing schedule, calling such a move “premature and not rooted solidly in the available evidence.”
A transition officer, who chose to remain anonymous, told The New York Times, that the Biden team has “faith in our manufacturers that they can produce enough vaccines to ensure people can get their second dose in a timely manner, while also getting more people their first dose.”
“He supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now,” Ducklo said. “He will share additional details next week on how his Administration will begin releasing available doses when he assumes office on January 20th.”
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