Only 151,000 people have reportedly received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine despite the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed hoping to vaccinate 100 million Americans by the end of February.
Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the federal vaccine program, had promised to distribute enough doses to immunize 20 million people in the US in December. OWS had then planned to distribute 60 million doses in January, and 100 million doses by February.
It missed that target, and as of Sunday afternoon, only about 7.7 million people had received their first shot. Two doses are currently required and about 22 million doses have been delivered to states. More than 22.1 million infections have been reported in the US with at least 372,555 deaths.
And according to a New York Times survey of all 50 states, at least 151,000 people in the United States have been fully vaccinated with both doses.
The American Hospital Association has estimated that 1.8 million people need to be vaccinated daily from January 1 to May 31 to reach widespread immunity by the summer. The current pace is more than 1 million people per day below that.
President-elect Joe Biden on Friday called the rollout a ‘travesty,’ noting the lack of a national plan to get doses into arms and reiterating his commitment to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days.
Biden has not shared details and was expected to discuss the effort this week. His office announced a plan to release most doses right away, rather than holding second doses in reserve, the more conservative approach taken by the Trump administration.
Public health officials sounded the alarm for months, complaining that they did not have enough support or money to get COVID-19 vaccines quickly into arms.
Now the slower-than-expected start to the largest vaccination effort in US history is proving them right.
As they work to ramp up the shots, state and local public health departments across the US cite a variety of obstacles, most notably a lack of leadership from the federal government.