Biden transition team pushing significant change in COVID-19 vaccine strategy
As the struggle to get COVID-19 vaccines into arms continues in Virginia, and the nation, President-elect Joe Biden is signaling a shift in strategy that could speed up the process.
The transition team announced on Friday the details of a plan administer 100 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days of Biden’s term, which begins Jan. 20.
The key change at the outset releases available doses immediately, reversing a protocol in place with the Trump administration that holds back millions of doses to guarantee that people can get a second shot.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require a second shot after the first vaccination.
One-shot vaccines are still undergoing testing.
“The president-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,” Biden spokesman T.J. Ducklo said in a statement.
Biden “supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now,” Ducklo said.
The Biden transition team has also been talking with state and local leaders about a coordinated approach that includes setting up vaccination centers and sending mobile vaccine units to hard-to-reach areas in urban and rural communities.
According to data from the CDC, 21.4 million doses of the vaccines have been distributed to the states, and 5.9 million people have received the first shot of the two-shot regiment, just under 28 percent.
The Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine dashboard reports today that 148,909 people have received their first shot of the vaccine. The state has received 481,550 vaccine doses, so we’ve only used 30.9 percent of the available stock to date.
Story by Chris Graham