Show an ad over header. AMP

U.S. set to end 2020 with just over 3 million COVID-19 vaccines doses administered

Americans received just over 3 million initial doses of coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in the 19 days following first shipments, according to a Bloomberg tally of government websites and CDC data.

Why it matters: It's far below Operation Warp Speed's goal of administering 20 million doses by the end of the year, raising concerns about how long it may be until enough people are vaccinated in the U.S. for life to return to normal.

What's happening: Federal officials say that 14 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been distributed in the U.S. as of Wednesday morning, but that delays in actually administering the shots have occurred in the final stretch of the process, the New York Times reports.

  • Some clinics administering vaccines are on reduced holiday hours, while federal officials have left practical details of the final rollout "to overstretched local health officials and hospitals," per the Times.
  • Some governors have also said they have not received enough funding from the federal government to support the infrastructure needed for a mass rollout.
  • Operation Warp Speed officials said at a Wednesday press briefing that they expect the vaccination process to accelerate once pharmacies offer in-store shots.

By the numbers: 0.9% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, while just 25% of the shots distributed to states thus far have been administered, according to Bloomberg's count (last updated Dec. 31 at 11:30am).

  • Data reported to the CDC on doses administered "significantly lags," a Health and Human Services spokesperson tweeted Tuesday, citing "a large difference between the number of doses distributed and the number of doses administered."

What they're saying: Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted on Thursday that the coronavirus vaccine "could be a tool to help reduce the impact of current wave of epidemic spread; but we’re largely missing the narrow window we had to deploy it rapidly enough to alter the present trajectory of death and disease in January."

  • Gottlieb added that the highly infectious new variant of COVID discovered in the U.K. and reported in two U.S. states this week "makes this more urgent."
  • Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific advisor to Operation Warp Speed, told the Times: "We agree that that number is lower than what we hoped for ... We know that it should be better, and we’re working hard to make it better.”
  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Tuesday that U.S. vaccination rates are "certainly are not at the numbers we wanted to be at the end of December" — but that he believes momentum will increase in January.

Between the lines: The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines both require a two-dose regimen. Pfizer warned in a statement this week that there are "no data" to prove that one dose of its vaccine will protect people from infection after 21 days, after the U.K. and some Canadian provinces shifted their strategy to prioritize giving as many single-doses as possible.

What to watch: Joe Biden aims to use the Defense Production Act to administer 100 million vaccine shots by May 1.

Go deeper: Coronavirus vaccine timelines vary widely around the world

Schumer: Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

Why it matters: Trump is the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice for “incitement of insurrection" after a violent pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol, resulting in five deaths.

Keep reading... Show less

CDC shifts COVID vaccine guidance, expanding minimum interval between doses for exceptional cases

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

Keep reading... Show less

Texas attorney general sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden administration unveils 3-pronged plan to combat domestic extremism

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced at a briefing on Friday that the Biden administration will roll out a three-pronged, interagency plan to assess and combat the thread by domestic violence extremism.

Why it matters: The federal government's approach to domestic extremism has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. In his inaugural address, Biden repudiated political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, vowing to defeat them.

Keep reading... Show less

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

Keep reading... Show less

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is constitutionally required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had been pushing for the trial to begin in mid-February, arguing that it will force the Senate to delay other important business.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.

Keep reading... Show less

New Energy Department roles look to animate Biden's campaign themes

The burst of Biden administration staffing picks announced yesterday revealed that the Energy Department (DOE) has newly created roles that reflect what President Biden called campaign priorities.

Driving the news: One new position is "director of energy jobs," which is being filled by Jennifer Jean Kropke. She was previously the first director of workforce and environmental engagement with Local 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories