Dec 29, 2020 - Health

Fauci: Vaccine numbers below target set for end of December

Anthony Fauci told CNN on Tuesday that Operation Warp Speed will not reach its goal of having 20 million Americans receive the coronavirus vaccine by the end of December.

By the numbers: Only 2.1 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine, with nearly 11.5 million doses distributed as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • With three days left until the end of the year, the government would need to vaccinate millions of people per day in order to meet the target.

What he's saying: "We certainly are not at the numbers we wanted to be at the end of December," Fauci said.

  • "I believe that as we get into January, we are going to see an increase in the momentum which, I hope, allows us to catch up to the projected pace that we had spoken about a month or two ago when we were talking about the planned rollout of the vaccinations," he continued.
  • "We really want to get those priority people vaccinated so that we can then get to what we call 'open season' for the general population ... When you get to the point where you can essentially say anybody and everybody who wants to be vaccinated can be vaccinated, that's when you really turn around the dynamics of the outbreak."

The big picture: In the first week of Pfizer's vaccine distribution, governors reported that they were receiving fewer allocations than expected, even as members of Operation Warp Speed said in early December that they were confident they would be able to distribute enough vaccines to get 20 million people vaccinated.

  • Army Gen. Gustave Perna, the member of Operation Warp Speed responsible for the vaccine distribution, apologized for the "miscommunication" with states over the number of doses they were supposed to receive.
  • President-elect Joe Biden, who will criticize the Trump administration for its missed targets in a speech on Tuesday, has said he has a plan to administer 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days.
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