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Biden wants to deliver 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his presidency—is that even possible?

president-elect biden promising 100 million vaccine doses in first 100 days
Photo via Peter Stevens/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As he prepares to take office, President-elect Joe Biden is looking to deliver 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his presidency, asserting that it’s possible despite an initially slower-than-hoped-for rollout of vaccinations under the Trump Administration. 

Biden announced the basics of his plan on Jan. 15, shortly after naming Dr. David Kessler as the new head of the federal vaccination program—followed by the announcement that the Operation Warp Speed name that the Trump administration used would depart along with the transition to the new administration. 

“I am convinced we can get it done,” Biden said about giving 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days, via CBS News. While Biden still asserted that “we remain in a very dark winter” and that the vaccination mission will be “one of the most challenging operational efforts ever undertaken by our country, he also asserted his White House will “manage the hell out of this operation.”

The plan encourages states to allow for more people to be vaccinating, expanding the pool to include people 65 years and older, and all frontline workers. As CBS noted, “Organizing by priority groups is scientific, but it’s also meant doses of vaccines have gone unused when others could be taking them.” 

As Politico reported, two key government officials at the forefront of pandemic response management felt confident that the goal could be met. 

“The feasibility of his goal is absolutely clear, there’s no doubt about it that that can be done,” Anthony Fauci, the incoming chief medical adviser to Biden, said during the Jan. 17 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press.

Incoming CDC Director Rochelle Walensky added, on the Jan. 17 edition of CBS’ Face the Nation, that the administration has enough doses to meet the goal of 100 million vaccines, qualifying that “it will be a hefty lift” to inoculate that many Americans within the time frame goal.

To do that, Walensky noted that meeting the goal would require having enough staff to administer the shots across the nation and utilizing the Defense Production Act to deal with any bottlenecks that might slow progress. 

Fauci added that two new vaccines under development by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson could be approved within weeks, according to Reuters, which would help these efforts. He noted that more vaccinations, coupled with people wearing masks and avoiding crowds, is the best strategy for dealing with the recent more infectious strain of the coronavirus.

“If we can get the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated, we’d be in very good shape and could beat even the mutant,” Biden said, referring to the more transmissible variant that first reached the U.S. in December.

Reuters noted that about 10.6 million Americans have received vaccinations by mid-January, just over half of the 20 million that the Trump Administration had sought to vaccinate by the end of 2020 under Operation Warp Speed. 

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Sources: CBS News, Politico, Reuters


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