How many Americans have got Covid-19 vaccine? Just 1M instead of 20M goal for December: 'Slower than we thought'

It is unlikely that the US will meet the original goal of having 20M people vaccinated by December 2020-end


                            How many Americans have got Covid-19 vaccine? Just 1M instead of 20M goal for December: 'Slower than we thought'
(Getty Images)

More than 1 million people in the US have received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of December 23, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is a far cry from the federal government’s goal of inoculating 20M Americans by the end of the year.

Two vaccines – from Pfizer and Moderna – have been authorized for use by the US Food and Drug Administration. The US began the vaccinations on December 14 as Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths spiked nationwide. An estimated 1,008,025 shots had been administered as of December 23. The US has shipped a total of 9,465,725 doses across the nation, according to CDC data.

"The US has passed an early but important milestone in bringing the Covid-19 pandemic to an end. More than 1 million people received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in the past 10 days. With Covid-19 cases surging nationwide, this comes at a critical time,” tweeted the CDC.



 

The reported number is low, because many doses administered in recent days are yet to be tabulated, and there may be a lag in reporting shots given of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, with only just 8 days to go, it is unlikely the US will meet the original target of having 20 million people vaccinated by the end of December 2020. US Operation Warp Speed chief scientific adviser Dr Moncef Slaoui noted that the rate of people getting a shot in their arm is “slower than we thought it would be".

“The commitment that we can make is to make vaccine doses available... I think that commitment is met. Exactly how fast the ramp-up of immunizations — shots in arms — is happening, is slower than we thought it would be. We are here to help the states to accelerate that appropriately. So that objective (of a million people with a shot in arms) is unlikely to be met,” said Dr Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser, Operation Warp Speed (OPS). 

This week, 7.9M doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine were allocated for delivery. Next week’s allocation is 4.67M doses, with 2.67M coming from Pfizer-BioNTech and 2M from Moderna. By the end of the year, 20M doses of vaccine will have been delivered, Army General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, informed

“It’s been a big week of delivery of vaccines. Over 7,800 deliveries by the end of tomorrow, as we are delivering the 7.9 million doses of vaccine that were allocated for this week around the country, really a tremendous feat,” General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said on December 23.

Perna said that overall, about 15.5M doses of vaccine have been allocated and that the US is on track to allocate another 4.5-5 million next week, "which will bring us to 20 million doses of vaccines allocated to America before the end of the year". “We’ll finish those deliveries in the first week of January 4, 5,6, to make sure that all those doses are available to the American people,” he said.

About 15.5 million doses of vaccine have been allocated and that the US is on track to allocate another 4.5-5 million next week (Getty Images)

According to the general, every day, OWS is compiling lessons learned to become even more efficient as time goes by at quality control and volume and scale of packing and delivery, he noted. “We’re learning. We’re getting better, and every day we're getting stronger. We’re in a steady drumbeat of continuous vaccine delivery. We want it to be even smoother every single day. We are working with the states in collaboration to make sure that we have a continuous contact with everybody who’s receiving the vaccine so that we can make sure that they know when the package is arriving or if the package will be late,” he explained. 

Pfizer to supply 100M additional doses

The US government has struck a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy an additional 100M doses of their Covid-19 vaccine. This agreement brings the total number of doses to be delivered to the US to 200M. The deal will allow millions of more Americans to be vaccinated at zero cost. The companies expect to deliver the full 200M doses to Operation Warp Speed by July 31, 2021. The US government will pay $1.95 billion for the extra 100M doses.

“Securing more doses from Pfizer and BioNTech for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 further expands our supply of doses across the Operation Warp Speed portfolio. This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021,” stated Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. 

Under the terms of the second agreement, the companies will deliver at least 70M of the additional doses by June 30, 2021, with the remaining 30M doses to be delivered no later than July 31, 2021. The US government also has the option to purchase up to an additional 400M doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Moderna has agreed to supply the US government with 200M doses by June 2021. Azar had earlier said that the US plans to have 200 million vaccines by the end of the first quarter of next year, that is, by March 2021-end, which will be enough to immunize 100M Americans. 

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