WASHINGTON – The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Sunday that the federal government has no knowledge of how much coronavirus vaccine the nation has, a complication that adds to what was already a Herculean task before the Biden administration.
"I can't tell you how much vaccine we have, and if I can't tell you I can't tell governors and I can't tell state health officials," said CDC director dr. Rochelle Walensky told Fox News Sunday.
"If they don't know how much vaccine they're getting not just this week but next week and the week after, they can't plan. They can't figure out how many websites to launch, they can't figure out." how many vaccines they need, and they can't figure out how many appointments to make for the public, "Walensky said.
Speaking at an excavation at the Trump administration, Walensky said the lack of knowledge of vaccine supplies shows "the challenges we have left".
Continue reading: Biden Surgeon General Pick Says US Races To Adapt To New Strains Of Covid
President Joe Biden's goal is to give 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots in his first 100 days. The Biden government has been pressed repeatedly on whether this goal is ambitious enough given the severity of the pandemic.
Walensky admitted the US needs to vaccinate people faster, but said the nation is facing supply shortages. Production will increase after the first 100 days, Walensky said, and the expected launch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also help resolve supply issues.
"We really hope that we have more vaccines and that we will increase the speed at which we can vaccinate," said Walensky.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said the nation is also facing distribution issues because the Trump administration, which launched the program, lacks a clear plan.
"The process of distributing the vaccine, especially outside of nursing homes and hospitals, to the entire community didn't really exist when we got to the White House," Klain told MSNBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.
"So, the process of getting this vaccine into your arms is the difficult process, we are lagging behind as a country and this is where we in the Biden administration are focused on getting this vaccine going," he added .
The Chief Medical Officer of the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who served in the Trump administration, said Sunday that Biden's goal of 100 million doses in 100 days was not a final number.
"It really is a floor and not a ceiling," Fauci told CBS "Face The Nation." "It's going to be a challenge. I think it was a reasonable goal that was set. We always want to do better than the goal you set."
Those 100 million injections will cover roughly 67 million people, Fauci said, some of whom received the two doses required while others received only one dose. To date, the US has given nearly 22 million doses, well below federal targets.
The need to vaccinate as many people as possible has received a new urgency as the coronavirus mutates. According to Fauci, the Covid-19 vaccines currently on the market may not be as effective against new strains.
Biden's surgeon general stressed on Sunday that the US is in a race to adapt to the new variants.
"The virus is basically telling us that it will keep changing and we need to be prepared for it," said Dr. Vivek Murthy during an interview with ABC News & # 39; "This Week".
"So the bottom line is that we are in the race against these variants, the virus will change and it is up to us to adapt and make sure we stay ahead," said Murthy.
When asked if the US is in a race against time before a variant of Covid emerges that makes the vaccines ineffective, Walensky said Americans need to be vaccinated if they have the opportunity and stick to mitigation strategies to the possibility of the virus spreading, spreading.
"I would say we were in a race the whole time," said Walensky. "The more viruses out there, the more viruses replicate, the more likely it is that we'll have mutations and variants."