vaccination

100 Million COVID-19 Vaccines in President Biden’s First 100 Days

Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden vows to distribute 100 million COVID-19 vaccines within his first 100 days in office.1 The Biden Administration will release nearly all available vaccine doses to administer the first dose in the 2-dose series to as many people as possible. Previously, the Trump Administration was retaining vaccine doses to ensure patients who received their first dose were able to receive a second.1

“There is every reason, especially with the new strain out there, to be moving more vaccinations into people’s arms,” said Dr Atul Gawande, a surgeon and Harvard professor serving as one of President Biden’s COVID-19 advisors.1

The Biden Administration believes that vaccine manufacturing will continue to increase production such that retaining vaccines for a second dose will not be an issue.

One of the main concerns with the vaccination, in addition to distribution, is administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that almost 36 million vaccine doses have been distributed, but only 16 million doses have been given.2 State administrators feel there is a lack of communication; while shipments may be coming every few days, the health departments do not know how many doses they will be receiving.1

In his COVID-19 Relief Package, President Biden states that his administration will invest $20 billion into a national vaccine program that partners with states, localities, tribes, and territories.3 The Biden Administration plans to vaccinate everyone residing in the United States, regardless of immigration status, free-of charge.3

As vaccines are released for distribution, the main question is, “How do the shots reach the patient?” The Biden Administration recognizes the importance of pharmacists to increase administration, as well as the use of hospitals and the creation of mass vaccination sites, such as stadiums and other large public venues.1 Currently, the stadiums for the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Dolphins, and Houston Astros are amongst some of the arenas serving as COVID-19 vaccination sites.4 As these makeshift clinics are set up, it is important they receive staffing and predictability.

The US Food and Drug Administration does not recommend extending the period between the first and second dose, regardless of if the vaccine is from Pfizer or Moderna.5 The Biden Administration recognizes that there will be challenges during the transition and development of clinics; however, they believe releasing the first dose to be pertinent.1

“The harm of not getting vaccines in arms now against the possible risk of a delay of a week or two – there’s so much more harm now with the highest death rate that we’ve ever experienced under this pandemic currently occurring now,” stated Dr Gawande.1

On March 11, 2021, President Biden announced his plans for all Americans to be eligible to receive  COVID-19 vaccination by May 1, 2021.6 The president is currently on track to meet his goal of 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his presidency. In the 7 weeks following the initiation of  President Biden's goal, over 81 million Americans have already received vaccinations.6 Based on the current vaccination plan, the White House COVID-19 Response Team believes that prioritized individuals should have received their vaccinations by the end of April, which will enable vaccination eligibility restrictions to be lifted in May.6 The Biden Administration plans to continue its aggressive vaccination strategies once the vaccination restrictions are lifted. The administration plans on delivering vaccines to an additional 700 community health centers over the next 6 weeks, doubling the number of pharmacies participating in the federal vaccination program, doubling the number of federally-run mass vaccination centers, and deploying over 400,000 active-duty troops to support vaccination efforts.6

Following a visit to a vaccination clinic in Virginia, President Biden released a remark, which amongst other announcements, updates the eligibility deadline for all Americans.7 The original eligibility for all Americans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting May 1st has now been bumped up to April 19, 2021.7 President Biden cited the response and hard work of governors and the American people as the driving force behind this change.7 

—Audrey Amos, PharmD

References

  1. Biden vows to distribute 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days. Transcript. National Public Radio. January 8, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://www.npr.org/2021/01/08/955005344/biden-vows-to-distribute-100-million-covid-19-vaccine-doses-in-his-first-100-day
  2. COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. CDC COVID Data Tracker. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated January 20, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations
  3. President-elect Biden announces American rescue plan. News Release. White House. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/us/pdf/2021/01/21035.pdf
  4. States open coronavirus vaccine “megasites” at stadiums, fairgrounds. Axios. January 11, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://www.axios.com/states-open-coronavirus-vaccine-megasites-at-stadiums-fairgrounds-c89816f5-43b1-4ff0-972d-e23b74091710.html
  5. FDA statement on following the authorized dosing schedules for COVID-19 vaccines. News Release. US Food and Drug Administration. January 4, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-statement-following-authorized-dosing-schedules-covid-19-vaccines
  6. Fact Sheet: President Biden to Announce All Americans to be Eligible for Vaccinations by May 1, Puts the Nation on Path to Get Closer to Normal by July 4th. The White House Briefing Room. Statements and Releases. March 11, 2021. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/11/fact-sheet-president-biden-to-announce-all-americans-to-be-eligible-for-vaccinations-by-may-1-puts-the-nation-on-a-path-to-get-closer-to-normal-by-july-4th/
  7. Remarks by President Biden marking the 150 millionth COVID-19 vaccine shot. The White House Briefing Room. Speeches and Remarks. April 6, 2021. Accessed April 7, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/04/06/remarks-by-president-biden-marking-the-150-millionth-covid-19-vaccine-shot/