By The New York Times
Four Biden officials tried on Sunday to manage public expectations about vaccine distribution, as frustration grows among Americans over long lines, canceled appointments and other daunting issues.
The officials also tried to smooth over confusion about President Biden’s goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days of his administration. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, called the figure “a floor, not a ceiling,” on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
Dr. Fauci clarified that Mr. Biden was talking about doses, not fully vaccinated people. Within those 100 days, he said, some 67 million people might have received the second of their two required vaccine doses, with another 37 million having gotten just the first dose.
By Inauguration Day last Wednesday, nearly 36 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been distributed to state and local governments. However, only about 16.5 million shots had been administered by that time.
Along with Dr. Fauci, the four officials included Dr. Vivek Murthy, the president’s nominee for surgeon general; Xavier Becerra, his nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services; and Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of staff. In appearances on the Sunday talk shows, each deflected questions about whether Mr. Biden’s goal was too ambitious or too modest.
Instead, Mr. Klain said that the vaccine distribution infrastructure inherited from the Trump administration needed to be fortified, and that many bottlenecks had to be cleared. “We need more vaccine, we need more vaccinators, we need more vaccination sites,” he said on the NBC program “Meet the Press.”
Public health officials are eagerly awaiting late-stage trial results for the one-dose vaccine under development by Johnson & Johnson. On the ABC program “This Week,” Dr. Murthy said that while the 100-million-dose goal could be achieved with the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer that are already authorized, he was hopeful about adding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well. Continue reading