So much for shutting down the coronavirus. Several experts have publicly expressed doubts about President Joe Biden’s strategy for distributing COVID-19 vaccines.
As my colleague Bonchie noted, Biden all but admitted he was just kidding when he promised to “shut down” the virus. In a recent speech, he acknowledged that dealing with the pandemic might not be as easy as he intimated during the campaign. “there is nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months,” he said.
But it appears that the president’s team does not yet have a sound strategy for delivering more immunizations to the public. The Hill reported:
President Biden is facing pressure to aim even higher with his administration’s vaccine distribution goals, with experts noting his early push to deliver 100 million shots in 100 days does not differ dramatically from the current pace.
The new administration has trumpeted its vaccine goal as “ambitious” and “bold.” But a vocal group of experts says Biden’s goal is actually far less than what is needed to tame the pandemic, especially with more contagious variants on the rise.
Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, told The Hill, “100 million shots means 50 million people,” given that the vaccines require two doses to be effective. “That’s totally inadequate, he added.
The Hill also noted:
A more contagious variant first found in the United Kingdom could be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned, sending cases spiking even higher and putting further stress on hospitals. That makes faster vaccinations before then even more pressing.
“That is really the urgency that people are not understanding,” Topol explained.
Surprisingly, The Hill acknowledged that Biden’s administration “is trying to set expectations that the pandemic will not immediately turn around and seeking to portray the Trump administration as having left it with little to work with on the vaccination effort.”
Earlier this week, CNN published a report in which Biden officials claimed that they inherited no vaccine distribution plan from the Trump administration. However, that narrative has already been debunked several times over. Dr. Anthony Fauci blew that talking point out of the water when he told reports, “We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution.”
But even worse for the Biden administration is the fact that despite his claims that the Trump administration completely botched the vaccine rollout, it appears his effort will be on par with Trump’s. The Hill noted:
Still, despite the problems with the initial rollout, the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. had already climbed to close to the goal Biden set of 1 million shots per day even before his administration took over. The U.S. was averaging 911,000 shots per day on Jan. 19, according to data compiled by Our World in Data, just shy of Biden’s desired mark.
It is also interesting to see how Biden is handling the scrutiny, even from a media apparatus that is friendly to him. He snapped at a reporter during a Thursday press conference when he was asked whether 100 million shots in 100 days would be sufficient.
“When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible,” Biden scolded. “Come on. Give me a break, man. It’s a good start, 100 million.”
It appears that despite his claims to the contrary, Biden might not handle the pandemic more effectively than his predecessor. While he will enjoy the activist media’s overall support, who will downplay his missteps and explain away his flaws, it will be impossible for them to persuade the American public that he is handling the pandemic as skillfully as he would want us to think.
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