Only about 2.8 million Americans had received a COVID-19 vaccine until the last day of December, putting the United States far from the government’s goal of vaccinating 20 million people this month.
The gunfire is reaching residents of nursing homes at an even slower rate than others on the front lines, even though they are most likely to die from the virus.
Only 170,000 people in long-term care facilities have received an injection as of Dec. 30, although 2.2 million doses have been distributed to residents, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 14 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been distributed to states so far, federal officials told reporters on Wednesday, nowhere near its goal of shipping 20 million doses this month.
As late as early December, officials claimed they would have 40 million doses this month, enough to immunize 20 million Americans on a two-dose regimen. On December 4, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told Reuters that vaccinating 20 million Americans by the end of the year was realistic, according to the vaccination campaign.
Since then, officials have expressed their determination to make enough doses available without commenting on the goals of actual vaccinations, as it has become clear that inoculations are below the number of doses dispensed.
“The rapid availability and distribution of so many doses – with 20 million first doses allocated for distribution just 18 days after emergency use authorization for the first vaccine was granted – is a testament to the success of the Operation Warp Speed, ”a US Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said in a statement. Doses that have been assigned but not distributed will be shipped in January.
The government has said that for every dose shipped, it keeps a second dose in reserve as well as a safety stock, which would bring the total number of vaccine doses closer to 40 million.
Even as the number of doses distributed approached the goal of reaching 20 million people, the pace of actual vaccinations was much slower than expected, according to CDC data.
“The federal government distributed the vaccines to the states. It is now up to the states to administer them. Go for it! US President Donald Trump tweeted.
Local public health officials told Reuters that lack of federal funding for vaccine distribution had prevented them from recruiting the necessary staff.
“We know it should be better and we are working hard to improve it,” Operation Warp Speed chief advisor Dr Moncef Slaoui said at a press briefing.
U.S. vaccinations for the nation’s 21 million healthcare workers began on December 14. Immunizations for the country’s 3 million nursing home residents, who are also in the first priority group, quickly followed.
Some 51 million essential frontline workers in the United States, such as firefighters, police and teachers, as well as people over the age of 75, are expected to be the next to receive a vaccine, a CDC advisory committee has recommended.
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing.