“They will benefit from the training curve,” said Vijay Samant, a former Merck CEO who led the production of three successful vaccines during his tenure. Samant said vaccine manufacturers have had months to clear up supply difficulties and that production is expected to accelerate in the coming months, a blessing for the Biden administration.
“They can get a lot of credit because doses of vaccines will suddenly become available, and that’s oh, well, we did,” Samantha said. “Let me tell you, that’s how it works. They’re at the right end of the curve.”
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, was similarly optimistic on Thursday, predicting that vaccine supply would increase rapidly in February and March. The governor was the first to talk to Pfizer, during which the company “reiterated its plan to significantly increase production in February,”
In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, Biden’s chief medical adviser expressed confidence in the president’s once-distant goal of vaccinating 100 million people in the first 100 days.
“I feel quite confident that this will be not only that, but maybe even better,” Fauzi said, adding that he had reviewed the contractual agreements. “The amount that will come in, we will be able to achieve this goal.”
Still, questions remain about where vaccine supplies are currently in the United States. The new administration is advertising solid federal plans to launch huge vaccination sites and deploy mobile units in severely affected communities, while some states are canceling meetings at existing vaccination sites, citing a lack of vaccines.
Biden’s team said it was flying somewhat blindly when it came to delivering the vaccine and how it was distributed across the country. A source close to the transition told CNN that Biden’s team had been denied access to critical resources needed to accurately assess supply and prepare to take on the implementation before Biden took office.
“The cooperation or lack of cooperation from the Trump administration is an obstacle,” Covid-19 White House Coordinator Jeff Zienz told reporters. “So we don’t have the visibility we’d hope to have for supplies and distribution.”
Of course, there is still almost no vaccine available – in the United States or around the world – and the United States has stumbled upon a rapid launch. But the Biden administration is also trying to manage expectations by playing on the wreckage left by the Trump administration as it devises concrete steps it can take to improve vaccine production and distribution.
The Biden administration has not made clear what it is doing to immediately improve the supply of vaccines, except for agencies looking for opportunities to use the Defense Manufacturing Act.
Biden absolutely remains committed to invoking the Defense Manufacturing Act to get the supplies and materials needed to export the vaccine to Americans across the country, and remains committed to getting 100 million shots in the arms of Americans in the first 100 days, “White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday.
The White House did not address the way they would communicate or work with states, but in a statement to CNN spokesman Kevin Munoz reiterated that they would “listen to the unique needs of states and adapt the resources and guidelines of the federal government to to ensure that they receive vaccines in the arms of Americans as quickly and safely as possible. “
White House officials said they had asked the Department of Health and Human Services to look for all potential sources of a syringe type that could help extract more doses of the Pfizer vaccine from each vial. On Thursday, Biden said he would sign an executive order using the Defense Manufacturing Act to direct federal agencies and private industries to “speed up the production of everything needed to protect, test and vaccinate and care for our people.”
A former administration official told CNN that the Trump administration has already implemented the Defense Manufacturing Act to help each of the six vaccine manufacturers, as well as needle and syringe contracts.
“We will work by paying close and careful attention to all components of the supply chain to ensure that production is in line with what we need,” Tim Manning, White House’s supply coordinator at Covid, told reporters. “The Defense Manufacturing Act is a powerful tool – a powerful set of tools – and there are many ways to use it to ensure that there are sufficient and growing stockpiles of vaccines.”
Samantha, a vaccine expert, said the administration would be better off focusing on the availability of raw materials such as lipids, rather than specialized syringes.
“This is like the most ridiculous thing to chase,” Samant said of increasing syringe production, adding that such a move could at best improve vaccine supplies by 5%.
It is crucial for Biden’s team to understand how much supply is available and how much can actually be available in the coming months. States stated that they needed clear and consistent guidelines on the supply of vaccines so that they could continue to streamline their vaccination programs.
“We will work to provide supply forecasts. We hear from governors and local leaders over and over again that they just don’t know what’s coming and can’t plan. We’ll do absolutely in the next few days to get our hands on what’s going on. If this happens, make sure we communicate with the states and cities so that they can prepare effectively, ”added Zients.
According to a health official involved in the vaccine distribution process, hospitals receiving the Moderna vaccine complain that they were completely in the dark when they received it and how much they received, and in some cases were sent to confuse when they received the vaccine. received surprise shipments. Modern declined to comment.
All these problems now fall into the lap of the new administration.
Some government officials said they were already concerned about the administration’s plan to distribute vaccines and communicate with states.
Under the previous administration, then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Covid Task Force held regular talks with the nation’s governors during most of the pandemic. Although some managers found the conversations largely useless, they could at least rely on briefings as an opportunity to hear senior medical experts and ask questions to the administration.
A day after Biden took office, government officials told CNN that there was still much confusion about how the states would work and communicate with the Biden administration as the pandemic continued to grow and the spread of vaccines lagged behind.
According to a Republican civil servant, the National Governor’s Association has contacted some of its governors about working with the Biden administration in Kovid. However, not all managers are members of the organization and it remains unclear how the administration plans to work with those outside the association.
A civil servant from the Democratic Party said that they also did not have regular communication with the new administration.
Dr. Bechara Choucair, vaccination coordinator at the White House, has been in touch with some governors, but did not explain how the administration will handle the distribution of vaccines.
Biden said Thursday that a liaison with the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be assigned to each state.
But in a news briefing Thursday, Psaki could not offer more details on how the Biden administration will improve communication with the states.
Covid’s new team, she said, “will engage with governors, Democrats and Republicans, mayors, local elected officials to gain a better understanding of what is happening on the ground.”