Now that Inauguration Day has come and gone and millions of people have taken time to celebrate the fact that there is a new president in the White House, it's time to get back to business. Because there is still a pandemic going on, people are still struggling to make ends meet and businesses are still closed. People are still dying. So here's where the U.S. stands on the COVID-19 vaccine right now. Things are looking a little brighter, but perhaps not as bright as some might like.
As of Thursday, 17.2 million doses of the vaccine have been given out across the United States, according to a COVID-19 vaccine tracker from Bloomberg. That's a significant number considering there have been 54.3 million vaccinations administered in 51 countries throughout the world. President Biden announced plans to launch a national campaign to deliver the vaccine on a federal level on Jan. 15 during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware where he promised per The New York Times, "Our plan is as clear as it is bold: get more people vaccinated for free, create more places for them to get vaccinated, mobilize more medical teams to get the shots in people’s arms, increase supply and get it out the door as soon as possible." This plan includes making the vaccine available in pharmacies, building mobile clinics to areas that tend to be underserved like rural communities, and focusing on racial equity to ensure people of color are better protected.
While that plan is good news for the future, right now the states are reporting serious issues as they work to deliver the vaccine. States like New York, where there have been problems with inadequate supply of the vaccine, leaving thousands of people who had been approved left without it. Sometimes after hours of waiting in line, as per the Associated Press.
New shipments of vaccines are being delivered to states every week, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, with priority being given to states who have been most successful at administering the vaccine thus far, "If you are not using vaccines that you have the right to, then we should be rebalancing to states that are using that vaccine,” Azar said at a recent news conference. The federal government has also decided to stop holding back the second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which will double supply.
Now that the Biden administration is in office, it seems help is on the way to ensure Americans are getting vaccinated. Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Dave Clark has offered to help President Biden deliver the vaccine to 100 million Americans within the first 100 days of his presidency, as he wrote in a letter to Biden, "Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against COVID-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort."
COVID-19 numbers continue to rise across the country, and 400,000 Americans have died. The vaccine rollout is imperative to helping Americans get back on their feet and return to a semblance of normalcy.
It just might take a little longer than people hoped. But it's coming.