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A healthcare worker hands Patrick Range, Sr., 88, a vaccination card after giving him the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Dec. 30. Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Americans received just over 3 million initial doses of coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in the 19 days following first shipments, according to a Bloomberg tally of government websites and CDC data.

Why it matters: It's far below Operation Warp Speed's goal of administering 20 million doses by the end of the year, raising concerns about how long it may be until enough people are vaccinated in the U.S. for life to return to normal.

What's happening: Federal officials say that 14 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been distributed in the U.S. as of Wednesday morning, but that delays in actually administering the shots have occurred in the final stretch of the process, the New York Times reports.

  • Some clinics administering vaccines are on reduced holiday hours, while federal officials have left practical details of the final rollout "to overstretched local health officials and hospitals," per the Times.
  • Some governors have also said they have not received enough funding from the federal government to support the infrastructure needed for a mass rollout.
  • Operation Warp Speed officials said at a Wednesday press briefing that they expect the vaccination process to accelerate once pharmacies offer in-store shots.

By the numbers: 0.9% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, while just 25% of the shots distributed to states thus far have been administered, according to Bloomberg's count (last updated Dec. 31 at 11:30am).

  • Data reported to the CDC on doses administered "significantly lags," a Health and Human Services spokesperson tweeted Tuesday, citing "a large difference between the number of doses distributed and the number of doses administered."

What they're saying: Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted on Thursday that the coronavirus vaccine "could be a tool to help reduce the impact of current wave of epidemic spread; but we’re largely missing the narrow window we had to deploy it rapidly enough to alter the present trajectory of death and disease in January."

  • Gottlieb added that the highly infectious new variant of COVID discovered in the U.K. and reported in two U.S. states this week "makes this more urgent."
  • Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific advisor to Operation Warp Speed, told the Times: "We agree that that number is lower than what we hoped for ... We know that it should be better, and we’re working hard to make it better.”
  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Tuesday that U.S. vaccination rates are "certainly are not at the numbers we wanted to be at the end of December" — but that he believes momentum will increase in January.

Between the lines: The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines both require a two-dose regimen. Pfizer warned in a statement this week that there are "no data" to prove that one dose of its vaccine will protect people from infection after 21 days, after the U.K. and some Canadian provinces shifted their strategy to prioritize giving as many single-doses as possible.

What to watch: Joe Biden aims to use the Defense Production Act to administer 100 million vaccine shots by May 1.

Go deeper: Coronavirus vaccine timelines vary widely around the world

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Health

South Carolina reports first-known U.S. cases of South African COVID variant

A health care worker giving a patient a dose of coronavirus vaccine in an assisted living home in Sumter, S.C., on Jan. 26. Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Carolina health officials have reported the first-known U.S. COVID-19 cases of a fast-spreading variant discovered in South Africa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: Though the CDC has "no evidence that infections by this variant cause more severe disease," preliminary data indicates it may spread faster and more easily than other variants.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Benefits of J&J COVID-19 vaccine outweigh risks, per CDC data — Vaccine boosters are increasingly likely.
  2. Health: Some states trim COVID reporting as Delta cases surge — Fauci: New masking guidelines for vaccinated Americans under "active consideration".
  3. Politics: White House boosts funding for COVID testing in vulnerable communities — Prominent Republicans find new enthusiasm for COVID-19 vaccines.
  4. Sports: Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID— NFL raises vaccine pressure
  5. World: Israel to require vaccine certificates to attend social events.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated Jan 15, 2021 - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.