The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Jan. 24 that the federal government doesn’t know how much CCP virus vaccine is available in the United States, posing a challenge to inoculation efforts.
“One of the biggest problems right now is, I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told “Fox News Sunday.”
“And if I can’t tell it to you, then I can’t tell it to the governors and I can’t tell it to the state health officials.”
Responding to questions about vaccine supplies in context of the Biden administration’s plans to inoculate 100 million Americans in 100 days, Walensky said the lack of clarity around how much vaccine there is nationally makes this objective more difficult to accomplish.
“If they don’t know how much vaccine they’re getting not just this week but next week and the week after, they can’t plan,” she said. “They can’t figure out how many sites to roll out, they can’t figure out how many vaccinators that they need, and they can’t figure out how many appointments to make for the public.
“So if they overshoot it, then we have vaccine on the shelf. If they undershoot it, we have these queues and queues of people, people whose appointments are canceled. And either way we have challenges.”
Given the challenges to vaccine distribution and administration as well as the prospect of new mutations of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus, Walensky stressed the role of other public health measures to help curb the spread of the virus.
“Not only do we need to vaccinate, but we need for people to wear masks, we need all of these other mitigation strategies so that we can decrease the amount of virus that is circulating and, therefore, decrease the amount of variants that are out there,” she said.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a Jan. 21 press briefing that, while new mutations of the CCP virus are far more transmissible than the original variants, vaccines can reduce their spread and impact their ability to mutate.
Ramping up vaccinations will not only help stop the virus from spreading, but they will also reduce the disease’s ability to mutate into new variants, Fauci said.
“Viruses don’t mutate unless they replicate,” he said. “If you can suppress that by a very good vaccine campaign, then you could actually avoid this deleterious effect that you might get from the mutations.”
In her interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Walensky said the United States has to “go faster” than the Biden administration’s current goal of 100 million vaccinations in 100 days.
Fauci, in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Jan. 24, called the 100 million vaccinations in 100 days goal a baseline that he hopes will be exceeded.
“It is really a floor and not a ceiling,” Fauci said. “It is going to be a challenge. I think it was a reasonable goal that was set. We always want to do better than the goal that you’ve set.”
Fauci added that the 100 million injections will cover about 67 million people, with some of them having received two doses, while others a single dose.
Around 41.4 million doses of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines have been distributed in the United States, according to data from the CDC, with just over 22.7 million total doses administered as of Jan. 25, with 3.3 million people having received two doses.