Warp Speed: 1 Million People Have Already Been Vaccinated Against COVID
The CDC announced Wednesday that only a week or so after Pfizer began distributing the coronavirus vaccine, 1 million Americans have already been inoculated against the disease. This remarkable timeline is a testament to the hard work put in by the Trump administration in putting together Operation Warp Speed, and it gives us a glimmer of hope as we head out of this difficult year and into a new era. The CDC touted the achievement as an “early but important milestone” and said that progress on the vaccination front is important given the surge in cases around the nation.
Unfortunately, the CDC may have stepped on its own message seeing as how it had earlier predicted that 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by the end of the year.
Now that two Covid-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use, the biggest hurdle to ending the pandemic in the U.S. is getting the doses to the roughly 331 million Americans across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 1,008,025 shots had been administered as of Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET.
That’s roughly 19 million doses shy of earlier projections for December and leaves public officials a little more than a week — about 8 days — to try to close that gap. The U.S. would need to vaccinate more than 2.1 million people per day through Dec. 31 to meet its goal. Two vaccines – from Pfizer and Moderna – have been authorized for use by the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. has shipped a total of 9,465,725 doses across the nation, according to CDC data.
In remarks to CNN, however, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said it was a remarkable achievement for the vaccine rollout to have gone this quickly.
“Frankly, I think it’s pretty amazing it has gone as fast as it has, recognizing it has only been 10 days since the FDA gave its first approval for emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine and then a week later for Moderna,” Collins said. “I think the distribution effort gone through [Operation] Warp Speed and then working through the states is pretty amazing.”
Keep in mind, too, that the government is trying to ship all of these doses out at perhaps the worst possible time: Christmas. Reports this month say that the USPS’s poor management means that millions of presents will arrive at their destinations after December 25. When you compound an already-extraordinary year in shipping challenges with the unique requirements and logistics that come with rolling out this vaccine, it’s a miracle that anyone has gotten the shot.
Hopefully, as the year winds to a close, things will get settled in, the wheels of government will start rolling smoothly (or as smoothly as they ever do), and we can start moving towards mass immunity. Frankly, it can’t happen soon enough.