US President-elect Joe Biden has announced an ambitious goal of inoculating 100 million Americans with COVID-19 vaccines in the first 100 days of his administration, noting that the vaccine rollout in the country, the worst hit by the pandemic, has been a “dismal failure,” PTI reported.
Hopes of quickly removing the coronavirus pandemic are fading in the US as governors across the country struggle to get the vaccine to those who need it most, hamstrung by the absence of a national plan, an insufficient number of doses to meet the demand, and a lack of resources from the federal government to distribute it, CNN said.
Media reports have said President Trump will leave the White House for Florida shortly before Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday (January 20). Trump will hold a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, the usual jumping off point for Air Force One located in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C., before his final departure from the capital city, sources said.
Biden on Friday held a briefing with his team on addressing the major health crisis. The US is the worst-affected country in the world with more than 23,523,000 COVID-19 infections and 391,955 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus tracker.
During his election campaign, Biden, a Democrat, made tackling COVID-19 and the economic hardships it had put on Americans a core pitch to voters.
“The vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far. In today’s (January 15) briefing we discussed five things, five things we will do in an attempt to turn things around, five things to turn frustration into motivation, five things to help us meet our goal of 100 million shots by the end of our first 100 days in office. Some wonder if we are reaching too far for that goal. Is it achievable? It’s a legitimate question to ask”, Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.
“Let me be clear; I am convinced we can get it done, and this is the time to set big goals to pursue them with courage and conviction because the health of the nation is literally at stake. First, we will immediately work with states to open up vaccinations to more priority groups”, he said.
Biden said that the process of establishing priority groups is driven by science, but the problem is the implementation has been too rigid and confusing. “If you were to ask most people today, they couldn’t tell you who exactly is getting vaccinated. What they do know is there are tens of millions of doses of vaccine sitting unused in freezers around the country while people who want and need the vaccine can’t get it”, he said.
“On my first day in office, I will instruct the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, to be again setting up the first of these (vaccination) centres. By the end of our first month in office, we will have 100 federally supported centres across the nation that will ultimately vaccinate millions of people”, he said.
Within the first month, the administration is going to deploy mobile clinics moving from community to community that will partner with community health centres and local primary-care doctors to offer vaccines to hard-hit and hard-to-reach communities in cities, small towns and in rural communities.
“The third change we are going to make is we are going to fully activate pharmacies across the country to get the vaccination to more arms as quickly as possible,” Biden said.
The President-elect said he will use the Defense Production Act to work with private industry to accelerate the making of materials needed to supply and administer the vaccine from the tubes and syringes to protective equipment.