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Only 151,000 Americans 'have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine' despite Operation Warp Speed promising to vaccinate 100 million Americans by end of February

 Only 151,000 people have reportedly received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine despite the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed hoping to vaccinate 100 million Americans by the end of February. 

Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the federal vaccine program, had promised to distribute enough doses to immunize 20 million people in the US in December. OWS had then planned to distribute 60 million doses in January, and 100 million doses by February.

It missed that target, and as of Sunday afternoon, only about 7.7 million people had received their first shot. Two doses are currently required and about 22 million doses have been delivered to states. More than 22.1 million infections have been reported in the US with at least 372,555 deaths. 

And according to a New York Times survey of all 50 states, at least 151,000 people in the United States have been fully vaccinated with both doses. 

The American Hospital Association has estimated that 1.8 million people need to be vaccinated daily from January 1 to May 31 to reach widespread immunity by the summer. The current pace is more than 1 million people per day below that.  

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday called the rollout a 'travesty,' noting the lack of a national plan to get doses into arms and reiterating his commitment to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days.  

Only 151,000 people have reportedly received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine despite the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed hoping to vaccinate 100 million Americans by the end of February

Only 151,000 people have reportedly received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine despite the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed hoping to vaccinate 100 million Americans by the end of February 

As of Sunday afternoon, about 7.7 million people had received their first shot (depicted above)

As of Sunday afternoon, about 7.7 million people had received their first shot (depicted above)

Biden has not shared details and was expected to discuss the effort this week. His office announced a plan to release most doses right away, rather than holding second doses in reserve, the more conservative approach taken by the Trump administration.

Public health officials sounded the alarm for months, complaining that they did not have enough support or money to get COVID-19 vaccines quickly into arms. 

Now the slower-than-expected start to the largest vaccination effort in US history is proving them right.

As they work to ramp up the shots, state and local public health departments across the US cite a variety of obstacles, most notably a lack of leadership from the federal government. 


Many officials worry that they are losing precious time at the height of the pandemic, and the delays could cost lives.

States lament a lack of clarity on how many doses they will receive and when. They say more resources should have been devoted to education campaigns to ease concerns among people leery of getting the shots. 

And although the federal government recently approved $8.7billion for the vaccine effort, it will take time to reach places that could have used the money months ago to prepare to deliver shots more efficiently.

Such complaints have become a common refrain in a nation where public health officials have been left largely on their own to solve complex problems. 

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday called the rollout a 'travesty,' noting the lack of a national plan to get doses into arms and reiterating his commitment to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday called the rollout a 'travesty,' noting the lack of a national plan to get doses into arms and reiterating his commitment to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days

Biden has not shared details and was expected to discuss the effort this week

Biden has not shared details and was expected to discuss the effort this week

'The recurring theme is the lack of a national strategy and the attempt to pass the buck down the line, lower and lower, until the poor people at the receiving end have nobody else that they can send the buck to,' said Gianfranco Pezzino, who was the public health officer in Shawnee County, Kansas, until retiring last month.

The Trump administration defined its primary role as developing coronavirus vaccines and delivering them to states, which would then take over and ensure that vaccine doses traveled 'the last mile' into arms.

Each state had to develop its own plan, including issuing guidelines for who gets vaccinated first. 

Several health experts complained about that approach, saying it led to confusion and a patchwork response.

'Let's just say that I was disappointed how they handled testing, and the vaccine deployment has reminded me of how disappointed I was when they handled testing,' said Dr Mysheika Roberts, health commissioner in Columbus, Ohio.

Several public health officials and experts say they believe some of the early glitches are smoothing out. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said the slow start should not be surprising given the immense scale of the task.

'It was not going to be seamless,' he said.

A group of people wait in line to complete their registration for the Moderna vaccine Tuesday at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic on the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show grounds in Mercedes, Texas

A group of people wait in line to complete their registration for the Moderna vaccine Tuesday at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic on the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show grounds in Mercedes, Texas

The Trump administration defined its primary role as developing coronavirus vaccines and delivering them to states, which would then take over and ensure that vaccine doses traveled 'the last mile' into arms

The Trump administration defined its primary role as developing coronavirus vaccines and delivering them to states, which would then take over and ensure that vaccine doses traveled 'the last mile' into arms

Still, Plescia said the federal government could have done more ahead of the rollout - such as releasing billions of dollars earlier to help with staffing, technology and other operational needs.

An ongoing investigation by The Associated Press and Kaiser Health News detailed how state and local health departments have been underfunded for decades. 

Public health officials have warned since the spring that they lacked the staff, money and tools they needed to deploy a vaccine. The money was not approved until the end of December.

Vaccine distribution involves a long, complex chain of events. Every dose must be tracked. 

Providers need to know how much staffing they will need. Eligible people must be notified to schedule their shots, given the vaccine's handling requirements and the need to observe people for 15 minutes after the shot - all while social distancing is observed.

It's difficult to plan too far ahead because the number of doses the state receives can fluctuate. Hospitals cannot give all their workers shots on the same day because of possible side effects and staffing issues, so they must be spaced out.

Rhode Island health officials said it can take up to seven days to get doses out to people once they are received.

Officials in several states, including Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and New Jersey, said the lack of supply is one of the biggest obstacles to getting more people vaccinated.

Some communities have seen large numbers of medical workers put off getting the shot, even though they are first in line. Columbus, Ohio, has had lower-than-expected demand among top priority groups, including emergency medical workers.

A public education campaign could have helped address the hesitancy among health care workers that has slowed the rollout of the first shots, said James Garrow, a spokesman for the Philadelphia health department.  


Instead, officials for months talked about the speed at which they were developing the vaccines - which did not help alleviate concerns that it might not be safe.

'There just hasn't been good messaging about the safety and the purposefulness of the safety protocols,' Garrow said.

The federal government has done little to provide information resources that local officials can tailor to their own communities, to address concerns of people such as pregnant women or Black men living in rural areas, said Dr Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, who is a member of Biden´s COVID-19 advisory board.

'You don't need 50 different states trying to do this kind of work. What you want to have is a smorgasbord of information sources that address different populations that any one state can use,' Osterholm said. 'That's what we don´t have right now.'

Some states are getting creative. Oregon held a mass vaccination event at the state fairgrounds with the help of the National Guard. The governor said it aimed to vaccinate 250 people per hour. 

New Jersey planned to open six vaccine 'megasites' where officials hope more than 2,000 people per day can eventually get their shots.

But without a federal plan, such efforts can amount to 'throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks,' said Chrissie Juliano of the Big Cities Health Coalition, which represents metropolitan health departments.

What's needed is a national, wartime-type effort to get vaccines out to as many people as possible, multiple experts said. Medical emergencies can be covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Pezzino, who is also a senior fellow at the Kansas Health Institute. Why not make vaccinations available on that schedule?

'It is possible. It is feasible,' he said. 'I don't see the level of urgency, the feeling of urgency in anybody around here. And that´s really, honestly, that´s the only thing that could make a difference.'

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