The Biden administration is on track to meet its goal of 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to be administered by President Joe Biden’s 101st day in office, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator said on Feb. 10.
“We’ve been making steady progress over the past few weeks, getting more vaccine supply, getting more vaccinators on the ground, and creating more places to get vaccinated. We are on track to meet the president’s goal of delivering 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office,” Jeffrey Zients said during a virtual press briefing.
Several vaccines against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, were developed with support from the Trump administration and granted emergency authorization in December 2020. But vaccine deployment started slowly, falling short of a goal of 20 million Americans being vaccinated by the end of the year.
Distribution and administration has steadily ramped up and reached more than 1 million daily doses three times under the Trump administration. It has continued growing since Biden took office on Jan. 20.
The seven-day average of shots administered is now at 1.5 million, up from 1.1 million two weeks ago, according to data that Zients presented.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44.7 million doses had been given as of the morning of Feb. 10. But because both of the approved vaccines require two doses, initial doses have gone to 33.7 million people, while about 10 million have gotten two injections.
Biden repeatedly said during the 2020 campaign that he would push to get 100 million shots administered in his first 100 days if elected. Biden told reporters last month that the administration might be able to push the daily injection rate to 1.5 million, but the White House said he didn’t set a new goal.
Critics have panned the original goal, saying it’s too low. Administration officials defended it, saying accomplishing the threshold would be unprecedented.
Biden told reporters earlier this week that his administration was “short on vaccines and short on organization” when he entered office. Trump administration officials, including holdover Dr. Anthony Fauci, have rebutted Biden’s claim of the previous president not having a plan in place, pointing to his Operation Warp Speed program.
The weekly allocation to states, tribes, and territories of vaccine doses has increased 28 percent in Biden’s first three weeks in office, Zients said Feb. 10.
The Biden administration is pushing for more mass vaccination sites, partnering with California last week to open several. More sites were announced during the briefing, including three in Texas. Sites at NRG Stadium in Houston, Fair Park in Dallas, and AT&T Stadium in Arlington will be capable of handling over 10,000 shots a day. They’re expected to be open the last week of February.
The administration has also worked on increasing the number of qualified professionals on the ground to administer vaccines, turning to retired doctors and nurses, and deployed hundreds of personnel from across the federal government to support vaccination operations across the nation. There are plans to deploy thousands more in the coming weeks.