The Trump administration’s rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine calling it “chaotic” and “very limited”, President Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain has said.
Ron Klain said there was no plan in the federal government for the distribution of vaccines across the United States.
President Joe Biden, who took office on January 20, has promised 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days.
The US has now reported more than 25 million Covid-19 cases.
About 417,500 deaths have been linked to the new coronavirus. In recent weeks, the daily number of Covid-linked deaths in the US has, on some days, exceeded 4,000.
President Biden signed a raft of new measures last week, including boosting vaccinations and testing. He has urged Americans to wear masks and warned that the death toll could get much worse.
His efforts follow widespread criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic and of the vaccination program.
Vaccines have been distributed to states, and states and cities are carrying out the inoculations. But some have complained they are struggling with supply.
According to the CDC, about 41 million doses had been distributed by January 23 across the country, but only 20.5 million had been administered.
Speaking to NBC News, Ron Klain said: “The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House.”
He said it was a “complex” process but that the Biden administration would set up federal vaccination sites to help states without enough places.
Covid- 19 infections have spiraled in recent months – with a jump in new infections after Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Hospital numbers hit their highest levels during the pandemic earlier this month but are slowly starting to drop alongside daily cases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said on January 21 that rolling average data appeared to show infections leveling off.
Although the national picture has stabilized slightly, he warned the country remained in a “very serious situation”.
The CDC is particularly concerned that new variants could accelerate the virus spread.
The strain has been detected in 20 states, Dr. Fauci said January 21, but warned the country had “limited ability” to track its spread through the population.
President Biden has already enacted a raft of executive measures to combat the virus and he wants Congress to pass a $1.9tn package of economic relief funding.
He is hoping to get bipartisan approval for his broad stimulus agenda, but the proposal has already been met with skepticism and resistance by some Republicans.
Another one of the new president’s key promises is to oversee 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, but some have criticized this policy as not ambitious enough.
The current approved suppliers – Moderna and Pfizer – have pledged to deliver 200 million doses by March. Dr. Fauci has also suggested emergency approval of a third vaccine, a single-dose jab by Johnson & Johnson, could be just weeks away.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was appointed chief medical adviser by the new president, has expressed hope that if 70-85% of the US population is vaccinated by the end of summer, the country could “approach a degree of normality” by autumn.
Israel has the highest coronavirus vaccination rate in the world with 11.55 doses per 100 people.
It is followed by Bahrain at 3.49 and the UK at 1.47, according to a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University.
In comparison, France had vaccinated 138 people in total by December 30.
More than 1.8 million people have now died of Covid-19 around the world.
The comparative figures on vaccination are put together by Our World in Data, which is a collaboration between Oxford University and an educational charity.
They measure the number of people who have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Most of the vaccines approved for use so far rely on two doses, given more than a week apart.
The US fell far short of its target of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020, with just 2.78 million having received a jab by December 30.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he does not agree with UK plans to give as many people as possible a first vaccine dose, while delaying second doses.
He said the US would not be adopting a similar strategy.
India has meanwhile approved two vaccines for emergency use – the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the Covaxin vaccine, developed locally by Bharat Biotech and the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.
Two further vaccines are awaiting approval. India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by the middle of the year and has been staging drills to prepare for mass distribution.
India is holding a national drill for its vaccination program, which is aiming to reach 300 million people by the middle of the year.
It will rely on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has now been recommended by a government panel. The Oxford vaccine does not require the same storage at extremely low temperatures as the Pfizer vaccine, making it suitable for distribution to areas without sophisticated health care facilities.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is known as Covishield in India, where it is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. Another vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech, has been approved for emergency use.
Covid-19 has already claimed nearly 150,000 lives in India, with about 10 million people infected – second only to the number infected in the US.
Israel began vaccinations on December 19 and is delivering the shot to about 150,000 people a day, with priority given to the over-60s, health workers and people who are clinically vulnerable.
It secured supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following negotiations early on in the pandemic. It is contacting people with priority access to the vaccine through its health care system – by law all Israelis must register with a recognized health care provider.
Israel has safely subdivided shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at -70C, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein told YNet TV news. This means smaller batches of the vaccine can be sent out to remote communities.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who is campaigning for re-election, has predicted Israel could emerge from the pandemic as early as February. It is currently in its third national lockdown.
In the first three days of the EU vaccination campaign, which launched on December 27, France inoculated fewer than 100 people. In comparison, Germany had given more than 190,000 vaccines by January 2.
Part of the difficulty in France stems from the widespread scepticism about the vaccination. In a 15-country poll carried out by Ipsos Global Advisor, just 40% of French respondents said they would be willing to have the vaccine.
This compares to 80% in China, 77% in the UK, and 69% in the US.
Earlier this week, the French health minister defended the slow pace of vaccinations, saying authorities had chosen to give the vaccine in care homes to elderly residents, rather than making them travel.
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