It’s supposed to be “under promise and over deliver.” But like just about everything with the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve gotten it exactly backwards.
For weeks Health & Human Services Sec. Alex Azar and other Trump officials have been promising the public that 20 million Americans would be able to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2020. But with just two more days left in the year only about two million first doses have been administered, meaning that the United States will be nowhere near meeting Operation Warp Speed’s stated goal.
On Tuesday, while praising the rapid development of the multiple vaccines, President-elect Joe Biden criticized Donald Trump for bungling the roll out. “As I’ve long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should. If that vaccine program continues to move at the pace it is, it’s going to take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people.” He added, “The Biden-Harris administration will spare no effort to make sure people get vaccinated.” Biden pledged that upon his inauguration on Jan. 20 he will invoke the Defense Production Act to speed up the production of the raw materials used to make the vaccines and to produce more needed PPE.
In addition to the Trump administration not properly thinking through and solving the complicated logistics of the mass vaccine effort, it appears that Trump’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is engaged in a blame game, attempting to slough off its under-performance onto individual states. Dr. Peter Hotez co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, told MSNBC’s Katy Tur Tuesday afternoon that the CDC is claiming that states are lagging in reporting how many shots they have administered, leading to under-reported numbers. Blaming individual states makes no logical sense, Hotez said, because even if there were statistical reporting anomalies there’s no way the target and actual number of immunizations could be off by a factor of 10 – two million vs. 20 million.
In other words, the Trump administration didn’t put in the work to ensure a smooth vaccine roll out and once again is blaming states for its failures.