President-elect Joe Biden reportedly “dressed down” members of his coronavirus response team amid concerns that the Democrat’s pledge to have 100 million Americans inoculated against COVID-19 within his first 100 days as president will become his first failure.
Last week, the Biden transition team announced that the new president’s administration aims to get “at least 100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people,” according to the New York Times — “an aggressive effort,” the outlet reports, “to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible.”
The plan includes releasing all available doses of the coronavirus vaccine as soon as he’s inaugurated rather than follow a Trump administration plan to hold back around half of the currently available doses so that those who are given the first shot can also get the second.
There are already issues with the idea: the Federal Food & Drug Administration has advised against giving individuals only one dose of the vaccine and skipping or delaying the second in order to get more people partially vaccinated. They suggest, the NYT says, that Biden’s administration stays with the Trump administration’s plan to ensure widespread availability of the vaccine for health care workers, first responders, and those who are in particular danger of dying from the virus.
There are internal troubles, though, Politico says, notably that states who have received shipments of the vaccine are having trouble deciding who should be vaccinated and, in some cases, are wasting doses because they don’t have vaccination plans, or because their vaccination plans are unworkable.
The stress of fulfilling his pledge is, it seems, already getting to the president-elect.
“President-elect Joe Biden has grown frustrated with the team in charge of plotting his coronavirus response, amid rising concerns that his administration will fall short of its promise of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days, according to people familiar with the conversations,” Politico reported Monday. “Biden has expressed criticism on multiple occasions to groups of transition officials — including one confrontation where Biden conveyed to Covid coordinator Jeff Zients and his deputy, Natalie Quillian, that their team was underperforming.”
The outlet goes on to say that Biden has “dressed down” some of his advisors over the issue, but in most cases, Politico notes, the federal government itself is to blame for delays: “Biden’s aggravation is rooted in the rush to build the foundation for an extended inoculation effort, a complex undertaking that includes untangling all manner of bureaucratic obstacles — from staffing issues to technology problems and insurance coverage dilemmas — that the transition had expected to already be well underway.”
There’s also the matter of states like New York and California, which have plenty of doses of the vaccine but cannot seem to manage to administer them to residents. As the Daily Wire reported earlier Monday, New York state’s impossible-to-navigate vaccine guidelines actually forced some health care providers to throw away usable doses of the vaccines because they could not find enough individuals marked as priority for the shot before the doses expired.
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