WASHINGTON – The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Sunday that the federal doesn’t skill much coronavirus vaccine the state has, a complication that adds to the already herculean task before the Biden administration.
“I can’t tell you ways many vaccines we’ve, and if I can’t tell it to you then I can’t tell it to the governors and that I can’t tell it to the state health officials,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told “Fox News Sunday.”
“If they don’t skill many vaccines they’re getting not just in the week but next week and therefore the week after they can’t plan. They can’t find out what percentage sites to roll out, they can’t find out what percentage vaccinators that they have, and that they can’t find out what percentage appointments to form for the general public,” Walensky said.
In a dig at the Trump administration, Walensky said the shortage of data of vaccine supply is indicative of “the challenges we’ve been left with.”
President Joe Biden has set a goal to administer 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots within his first 100 days. The Biden administration has been repeatedly pressed on whether that focus is ambitious enough given the severity of the pandemic.
Walensky acknowledged that the U.S. must vaccinate people faster, but she said the state faces supply constraints. Production will increase after the primary 100 days, Walensky said, and therefore the expected introduction of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine also will help ease supply problems.
“We are really hoping that we’ll have more vaccines which will increase the pace at which we will do the vaccinations,” Walensky said.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain said the state also faces distribution problems because the Trump administration, which started the program, didn’t have a transparent plan.
“The process of distributing the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals, out into the community as an entire didn’t really exist once we came into the White House,” Klain told MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“So, the method of getting that vaccine into arms, that’s the hard process, that’s where we are behind as a rustic and that’s where we are focused within the Biden administration on getting that ramped up,” he added.
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who served within the Trump administration, said Sunday the Biden target of 100 million doses in 100 days isn’t a final number.
“It is basically a floor and not a ceiling,” Fauci told CBS’ “Face The Nation”. “It goes to be a challenge. I feel it had been an inexpensive goal that was set. We always want to try to do better than the goal that you’ve set.”
Those 100 million injections will cover about 67 million people, Fauci said, a number of whom will have received the specified two doses while others will have received just one dose. So far, the U.S. has administered nearly 22 million doses, far below federal targets.
The need to vaccinate as many of us as possible has taken on new urgency because the coronavirus mutates. Fauci said the Covid-19 vaccines currently on the market might not be as effective against new strains.
Biden‘s surgeon general pick stressed on Sunday the U.S. is during a race to adapt against the new variants.
“The virus is essentially telling us that it’s getting to still change and we’ve needed to be ready for it,” Dr. Vivek Murthy said during an interview with ABC News’ “This Week.”
“So rock bottom line is, we’re during a race against these variants, the virus goes to vary and it’s up to us to adapt and to form sure that we’re staying ahead,” Murthy said.
When asked if the U.S. is during a race against the clock before a Covid variant emerges that renders the vaccines ineffective, Walensky said Americans got to get inoculated once they have the chance and cling to mitigation strategies to deny the virus opportunity to circulate.
“I would say we’ve been during a race right along,” Walensky said. “The more virus that’s out there, the more virus that’s replicating, the more likely that we are getting to have mutations and variants.”