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The U.S. is not vaccinating nearly enough people yet to make an impact on the pandemic

America is administering vaccines at a rate of one million a week—far too slow to reach herd immunity by summer.

The U.S. is not vaccinating nearly enough people yet to make an impact on the pandemic
[Photo: Hakan Nural/Unsplash]
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Operation Warp Speed is sputtering. Under the Trump administration’s vaccination roll out, the goal was to have 20 million Americans receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December–a critical step in not only inoculating the most vulnerable, but also eventually achieving herd immunity in the country (it is estimated that between 80-90% of Americans would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity).

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But instead of 20 million doses being administered this month, the U.S. has only administered 2.1 million doses so far–barely a tenth of the original goal, reports Axios. That means that if the U.S. is to meet its 20 million goal, it would need to vaccinate more than five million people a day between now and the end of Thursday . . . something that seems unlikely to happen.

Speaking to the shortfall in administered vaccines, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN, “We certainly are not at the numbers we wanted to be at the end of December.” He expressed hope that Operation Warp Speed can make up for lost time at the beginning of January. Yet the current math is not in our favor. As Dr. Leana Wen, public health professor at George Washington University and former health commissioner of Baltimore, pointed out on Twitter, America is currently vaccinating only one million residents a week. If this rate is not improved, it will take 10 years to inoculate 80% of the country. If we want to achieve herd immunity by the summer, America needs to be vaccinating 3.5 million people a day–almost 25 times what we’re doing now.

On the plus side, President-elect Joe Biden says he has a plan to administer 100 million doses–enough for 50 million Americans–in his first 100 days in office. That would be a boost Operation Warp Speed desperately needs right now.