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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.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.