President-elect Joe Biden on Friday promised that his incoming administration will be "sparing no effort to get Americans vaccinated" against COVID-19. Citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, he did warn that Americans still face "a very dark winter" and that "things will get worse before they get better."
Noting that the "vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure so far," Biden outlined five things his administration plans to do to achieve his goal of administering 100 million shots in 100 days after he takes office next week.
First, his team will work with states to open access to vaccines to more groups of people, including Americans aged 65 and older. In addition, the vaccines will be targeted to reach more first responders, teachers, and grocery store workers.
Second, his administration will open 100 federally supported vaccination sites by the end of his first month. They will be located at facilities such as school gyms and sports stadiums. In addition, mobile vaccination clinics will be up and running with the help of local community health organizations. He will end the shortage of vaccinators by mobilizing emergency medical first responders, retired health care professionals, and military medical care personnel. In addition, states will be reimbursed 100 percent for calling up their national guard units to aid in the vaccination push.
Third, citing the successful role of local pharmacies in administering flu shots, Biden is mounting "a major new effort" to "fully activate pharmacies across the United States" as centers for dispensing COVID-19 vaccinations. Americans should be able to get their inoculations close to their homes.
Fourth, Biden said that he will apply the "full strength of the government" to ramp up the manufacturing of vaccines and medical supplies like tubes and syringes. Planning to invoke the Defense Production Act, Biden said that members of his COVID-19 task force are already talking with companies about what they can do to speed this process up.
Fifth, Biden promised to be transparent about vaccine supplies and when Americans can expect to gain access to them.
Biden added that his administration would counter disinformation about the safety of the vaccines and seek to allay the concerns of those Americans who remain hesitant about getting vaccinated.
The president-elect ended with an admonition to continue to do what works to slow the transmission of the virus: Wear masks (especially in crowded indoor spaces), wash your hands, and maintain social distancing.
Notably, the president-elect did not mention any plans to ramp up COVID-19 testing availability.