With Donald Trump’s fake reserves and ongoing issues with distribution, the CDC’s new director announced this week that it may be a few months until the COVID-19 vaccine is available for the general public.
The prediction made by director Dr. Rochelle Walensky contradicts the Trump administration’s previous claim that the vaccine would be widely available by the end of February or early March. According toWalensky via the Today show, that’s not happening. Currently, the Biden administration is dedicated to the goal of distributing 100 million doses in the first 100 days.
“I don’t think late February we’re going to have the vaccine in every pharmacy in this country,” Walensky said. “We’re going to stick to that plan, but also want to be very cognizant of the fact that after 100 days, there are still a lot of Americans who need vaccine, so we have our pedal to the metal to make sure we can get as much vaccine out there.”
State stockpiles are low since the Trump administration lied about its plan to hold second doses in reserve. In the U.S. more than 16 million people have received the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and nearly 3 million have been fully vaccinated.
“We recognize this as the most immediate emergency to get this country back to health,” Walensky said. “Right now I think we still have vaccine on the shelves that we need to get into people so we’re deploying places that we can get them into people…We are looking at community vaccination centers, stadiums and gymnasiums. We’re looking at mobile units to really get to every corner of this country, federally qualified health care centers and pharmacies.”
The new administration is also trying to tackle the hesitancy many still have toward receiving the vaccine.
“Vaccine hesitancy comes in numerous different flavors, I will say,” she said. “Some people just really need it to be convenient. Some people need to have permission to take the time to get the vaccine or enough leeway to be able to take the day off if they’re feeling unwell the next day. Some of it is they just want to see how it’s going to go. Some of it is education…and we need to bring that science to them by their trusted people.”
It’s possible that a third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which only requires one shot, is headed to the FDA for approval soon and could help the U.S. ramp up vaccine production. Until then, it looks like we’ll be hanging out indoors and social distancing for a little while longer.