A CVS pharmacist gives the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a resident of the Emerald Court seniors community in Anaheim, Calif. On Friday, January 8, 2021.
Paul Bersebach | MediaNews Group | Orange County Register via Getty Images
Senate Democrats on Monday called on the Trump administration to make changes to its Covid-19 vaccine deployment strategy, saying it had ‘failed’ states by failing to provide detailed guidance on how to distribute effectively delivering potentially life-saving doses to Americans across the country.
The United States “cannot afford for this vaccination campaign to continue to be hampered by the lack of planning, communication and leadership that we have seen so far,” said Senate Minority Leader , Chuck Schumer, and 44 other Democrats, in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. dated Monday. “The metric that matters, and where we are clearly moving too slowly, are the vaccines in the guns.”
“A vaccine assigned on a spreadsheet, or even a vaccine handed out and sitting on a self, is not enough to protect anyone,” lawmakers added.
HHS did not immediately respond to TBEN’s request for comment.
Trump administration officials have acknowledged that vaccine distribution has been slower than expected, citing the recent vacation as a potential factor. As of Monday morning, more than 25.4 million doses of the vaccine had been distributed in the United States, but just over 8.9 million vaccines had been administered, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number falls short of the federal government’s goal of vaccinating 20 million Americans by the end of 2020 and 50 million Americans by the end of this month.
Public and local health officials said they were strapped for cash. They blame the federal government’s inadequate funding and inconsistent communication for the slowdown in the number of doses administered.
The American Hospital Association is calling on Azar to provide more support and coordination at the federal level for the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, saying the slow deployment has raised questions about how quickly the public can be vaccinated.
In addition, President-elect Joe Biden, slated for his inauguration in less than two weeks, criticized the rollout of the vaccine, saying at the current location “it will take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people “.
US officials expect vaccinations to accelerate in the coming weeks. In an attempt to speed up the pace of vaccinations, Azar and Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn last week urged states to begin vaccinating lower priority groups against Covid-19. The CDC recommends prioritizing health workers and nursing homes first, but states can distribute the vaccine as they see fit.
Hahn told reporters that states should shoot groups that “make sense,” such as the elderly, people with pre-existing conditions, police, firefighters and other essential workers.
“We heard in the press that some people said, ‘Okay, I’m waiting to get all my health workers vaccinated. We have a vaccination rate of around 35%. “I think it’s reasonable to extend this“ to other groups, ”Hahn said Friday at an event hosted by the Alliance for Health Policy.“ I strongly encourage moving forward in giving states the ability to be more expansive about who they can give the vaccine to. “
Democrats said the Trump administration should release a “comprehensive national plan,” which would include guidance on administering vaccines and how it would support states with the supplies and manpower needed to administer the vaccines. vaccines.
In the absence of this long overdue national plan, it is all the more important that the Trump administration actively engages in state planning efforts in the coming days, identifies challenges at the distribution level. and administration and proactively addresses issues that arise in partnership with jurisdictions. The lawmakers wrote.