COVID-19 vaccine

Biden Vows 100 Million Shots as Vaccine Pace Remains Slow

Once in office, the president-elect is reportedly planning to order all available vaccines distributed, without holding back doses for booster shots given weeks later.

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As Florida legislators are demanding answers from Gov. Ron DeSantis over his vaccination plans, President-Elect Joe Biden's advisers say he will change course and push out all vaccine as quickly as possible.

But, as of now, the problem is not the amount distributed, but the number of doses actually administered.

"Vaccines give us hope, but the roll-out has been a travesty," Biden said Friday in Wilmington, Delaware, where he announced his final cabinet nominees.

According to the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6.7 million of the 22.1 million doses distributed nationwide have been administered. That's 30%.

In Florida, the CDC says nearly 403,000 doses have been administered, also about 30% of the doses distributed to the state.

 "I’m committed to getting 100 million shots into people's arms in the first 100 days" of his administration, Biden said.

But it's unclear how that could happen, given the recent rate of vaccinations even if the government could ship all vaccines without holding back booster shots needed three to four weeks later, as is currently done.

Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease expert at Florida International University, said there's no data showing the effects of delaying booster shots for extended periods of time.

But, she noted, that concern could be alleviated if the production of vaccine is ramped up to supply enough doses for the booster shots.

 "If we want to make sure that we vaccinate as many people as possible, but also give them their dose on time, the remedy is that you then have to produce that much more vaccine," Marty said.

To do that, she said, Biden could invoke the Defense Production Act and require companies to produce vaccines.

That, like others proings of the effort against the virus, will cost money.

"We’re going to need billions of dollars to get the vaccines from the vial into someone’s arm, the vaccination," Biden said.

 While the start of the vaccination effort has been slow, Marty said it is scaling up quickly.

 "It's building," she said. "It simply takes time, but in a couple weeks I can assure you we’ll have multiple more sites and multiple more people trained, ready in a very smooth fashion giving out a lot more vaccine than we were able to in the first few weeks."

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