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Biden Vows Accelerated Vaccine Distribution, Pledging 100 Million Doses in First 100 Days

  • President-elect Joe Biden plans to distribute 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in his first 100 days in office, enough to vaccinate 50 million people
  • Plan calls for the invocation of the Defense Production Act as well as community vaccination sites and mobile units
  • Trump Administration defends pace of vaccine distribution after criticism

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to distribute 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in his first 100 days in office, while also criticizing the Trump Administration for what he describes as a slow rollout of the vaccine. Since COVID-19 vaccines require two doses, distribution of 100 million doses would vaccinate 50 million people.

Economists have frequently said that widespread vaccine distribution will be necessary for a return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states have implemented new business restrictions amid a third wave of COVID-19 infections, further stressing businesses that were subject to lockdowns in the spring and milder restrictions over the summer and autumn. The pandemic and new wave of infections has also made consumers more wary of venturing out to shops and restaurants.

Biden says he plans to invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure that manufacturers have enough materials for vaccine production and to ramp up production of personal protective equipment. He is also looking to set up mobile units and community vaccination sites to accelerate the pace of inoculations.

The 100 million figure has been frequently invoked. President Donald Trump said in October that he hoped to have this number available by the end of the year, though this was later drastically reduced to 40 million, or enough to vaccinate 20 million people. Government officials have also expressed hopes that the first 100 million Americans will be vaccinated by the end of March.

Biden was also critical of the Trump Administration’s pace of vaccine distribution. While they expressed hopes to distribute 20 million doses by the end of the year, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that only 11.4 million doses had been distributed as of Monday, with just 2.1 million administered.

While the COVID-19 vaccine was developed more quickly than anticipated, its rollout has proceeded at a slower pace. Government officials responded to Biden’s criticism by saying that states are responsible for ensuring delivery of the vaccines, and that the low numbers are due to factors such as a delay in data reporting. They expect that distribution will fall only slightly behind schedule, with 20 million people vaccinated in the first week of January.

The pace of vaccine distribution is expected to pick up in January, with government officials hoping that anyone who wants to be vaccinated will have received the doses by the end of June.

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