Jan 4, 2021 - Axios Events

America's vaccine rollout: What went wrong

Illustration of a syringe and glass medicine bottle with a post-it note attached that says "to do"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The most ambitious vaccination effort in U.S. history has run headfirst into resource shortages and staffing issues caused by the raging pandemic.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of year fell drastically short, raising concerns about how long it may be until enough people are vaccinated in the U.S. for life to return to normal.

By the numbers: 1.3% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated and 33% of the shots distributed to states have been administered, according to a Bloomberg analysis of CDC data.

  • Operation Warp Speed has distributed 13 million doses, about 7 million doses short of its goal.

The state of play: State officials have given several reasons for why vaccinations have moved at a slower-than-expected pace, per the New York Times.

  • The surge in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have overwhelmed health care facilities, hindering their ability to deliver vaccines.
  • Many states have reserved vaccine doses for nursing homes and long-term care facilities, slowing distribution.
  • The holidays also led to reduced hours and limited staffing in clinics.

Yes, but: NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he has seen "some little glimmer of hope" after 1.5 million doses were administered in the previous 72 hours, a marked increase in the vaccination rate.

What they're saying: On Friday, President Trump blamed states for not administering the vaccine fast enough.

  • "Some States are very slow to inoculate recipients despite successful and very large scale distribution of vaccines by the Federal Government. They will get it done!" he tweeted.

The other side: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti argued on "Face the Nation" that the Trump administration hasn't offered enough vaccine training to the medical workforce.

  • “We are at a pace right now to deliver vaccines in L.A. over five years, instead of over half a year," he said on Sunday.
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