US vaccinations in 2020 do not exceed the goal of 20 million people by Reuters

© Reuters. PHOTO FILE: US Air Force veteran receives dose of coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19) in Holyoke

By Rebecca Spalding and Carl O’Donnell

(Reuters) – Only about 2.8 million Americans received a COVID-19 vaccine on the last day of December, which puts the United States away from the government’s goal of vaccinating 20 million people this month.

The images reach nursing home residents at an even slower pace than others on the front line, even though they are most at risk of dying from the virus.

About 170,000 people in long-term care facilities received a blow on December 30, although 2.2 million doses were distributed to residents, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Approximately 14 million doses of Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 is and Modern The vaccines (NASDAQ 🙂 have been distributed to states so far, federal officials told reporters on Wednesday, shy of its goal of delivering 20 million doses this month.

In early December, officials said they would have 40 million doses available this month, enough to vaccinate 20 million Americans on a two-dose regimen.

On December 4, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told Reuters that vaccinating 20 million Americans by the end of the year was realistic, according to the vaccination campaign.

Since then, officials have said they are committed to providing sufficient doses without commenting on the targets for effective vaccinations, as it has become clear that inoculations are smaller than the number of doses delivered.

“The availability and rapid distribution of so many doses – with 20 million primary doses allocated for distribution just 18 days after the first vaccine was given emergency use authorization – is proof of the success of Operation Warp Speed,” a Department of Health and US. A human services spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday. Doses that have been allocated but not distributed will be delivered in January.

The government said that for every dose shipped, it keeps the second dose in reserve, as well as a safety stock, which would bring the total number of vaccine doses closer to 40 million.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease specialist in the United States, said that “it is being considered” whether the United States should release more reserve doses to vaccinate a wider portion of the public.

“You can argue, and some people are, about extending the doses, offering a single dose everywhere, and hoping you get the second dose in time to give to individuals,” Fauci said in a Thursday NBC Interview.

Even though the number of doses distributed approached the goal of reaching 20 million people, the rate of actual vaccinations was much slower than expected, according to CDC data.

“The federal government has distributed the vaccines to states. It is now up to the states to administer them. US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Local health officials told Reuters that the lack of federal funding for vaccine distribution prevented them from hiring the necessary staff.[L1N2JA1GB]

“We know it should be better and we are working hard to make it better,” Warp Speed ​​chief adviser Dr. Moncef Slaoui said in a media briefing.

US vaccinations for the country’s 21 million health workers began on December 14. The inoculation of 3 million residents of nursing homes in the country, who are also in the priority group, followed shortly.

About 51 million key U.S. employees, such as firefighters, police and teachers, and people over the age of 75 should be next to receive a vaccine, a CDC advisory group has recommended.