It is true that the vaccine rollout has been fraught with problems. Federal officials projected 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by the end of 2020, but actual numbers reported by the CDC fell far short of this goal with only 2.8 million people
receiving a vaccine by the new year. While vaccinations have been ramping up, with the US averaging roughly 1 million doses a day in the last week, it would still take until spring 2022 to vaccinate every adult in the US at this rate, according to a CNN analysis. And as of Friday, nearly 40 million vaccine doses had been distributed, but only about 48%, or 19 million doses, had been administered.
Along with delays
in administering the vaccine, there are concerns that supply is running out. Last week, after the Trump administration promised to release a stockpile of vaccines reserved for second doses, it became clear that such a reserve did not exist.
Despite these setbacks, Biden’s administration has vowed a substantial increase in federal support with a goal to administer 100 million shots in 100 days, and I am hopeful that this will happen. The administration has plans to use the Defense Production Act
to further scale up production of the materials needed to administer the vaccines.
For states that are struggling with the vaccine rollout, there is also promise of increased support. The President has stated plans to deploy the National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency
to help set up vaccination sites across the country. He has committed to ensuring that these federal resources are directed to Black, Latino and rural communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, and he has called for setting up mass vaccination centers and mobile units
to serve areas that are most difficult to reach.
Finally, I am hopeful that the new administration will also restore the global partnerships and goodwill which are so critical during this worldwide health crisis. Trump’s decision to abandon the World Health Organization and his threats to pull funding would have had a negative impact on the global fight against diseases like
polio, tuberculosis, HIV, malaria and measles, and placed Americans at a higher risk for global persistence of the pandemic. Biden has promised to rejoin the WHO
and face this pandemic as part of the global community.
These are still mostly plans and promises that the new administration has yet to follow through on. But I am hopeful. I am hopeful that we will stand together against this pandemic, and I am hopeful that we now have a federal government that will stand with us.