Amid reports that the outgoing administration of former President Donald Trump left no national vaccination plan for incoming President Joe Biden, cities in New York, Mississippi and South Carolina have canceled scheduled vaccination agreements due to lack of available doses.
“There is no plan, or was there no plan, by the Trump administration in terms of distribution, how to actually talk to the public about these vaccines and educate [people] about why they are so important to their health, “says Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota who is a member of Biden’s coronavirus council, WBUR.
“What we inherit from the Trump administration is so much worse than we could have imagined,”
On Thursday, Biden unveiled his national coronavirus strategy, which included his already announced goal of administering 100 million vaccination shots during the first 100 days in office – in other words, by April 30th.
But while Biden signed an executive order on Thursday invoking the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine production and another order instructing states to set up more vaccinations in public places such as stadiums, convention centers and pharmacies, health experts say both are lacking. available doses that can take months to correct, and also an incorrect distribution of the currently available doses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that while, according to Politico, about 38 million doses have been distributed, but only about half have been administered, leaving a gap of about 19 million unused doses.
During Thursday’s COVID task force briefing at the White House, infectious disease expert and Coronavirus Advisory Board Dr. Anthony Fauci, “It’s something we really need to take a closer look at,” adding, “What would be most disturbing is vaccine laying around.”
During the Trump administration, states were not informed by the federal government about how many doses to expect and when they left them to plan under an air of uncertainty, according to Politico.
Operating under this uncertainty, cities across states across the country are canceling vaccination agreements due to lack of doses.
Baptist Health South Florida has had to cancel some of its 12,000 vaccination appointments, according to NBC News, and officials in San Francisco, New York and New Jersey have also said they are running out.
Across New York State, 26,300 such agreements have been canceled, according to Bloomberg News and WGRZ.
On January 15, Beaufort Memorial Hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina canceled 6,000 scheduled appointments citing a lack of available doses. Although the hospital had ordered over 2,000 vaccines at the beginning of the month, they received only 450 vaccines.
On January 14, the Mississippi State Health Department (MSDH) said it would not be able to vaccinate all eligible individuals until it received a new shipment of doses in mid-February.
The announcement from MSDH came the day after State Republican Gov. Tate Reeves asked residents to sign up for vaccinations amid an increase in new COVID-19 cases. His instructions overwhelmed the state’s vaccination planning website and hotline.
“The Mississippi State Department of Health hopes to receive a major shipment of vaccine in mid-February that should help put additional shots in people’s arms,” MSDH said in a statement. “We understand the frustration resulting from this sudden change of plan.”
Newsweek contacted the White House for comment.