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Halfway to 100 days: Update on Biden administration’s COVID plan

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 9:36 AM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - On his first full day in office, President Biden set an ambitious goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days.

“This will be one of the greatest operational challenges our nation has ever taken,” Biden said in a speech on Jan. 21.

Halfway to that 100 day mark, the White House is changing its projections.

“Now, we’re able to say that we will have enough vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May,” said Andy Slavitt, the White House COVID-19 response senior advisor.

Slavitt said a third vaccine, increasing the pace of distribution, and adding vaccination sites are all factors that led the administration to accelerate the timeline.

“We are ramping up very, very quickly,” he said.

But some health organizations are voicing concerns.

“Number one: we have to get good data,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association.

Benjamin said there has been a “substantial” lack of equity.

According to the CDC’s COVID data tracker, as of the date of this article, 65% of those who’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine are white. Data on race is only available for just over half of vaccine recipients.

“We have to improve on the accountability of that,” Benjamin said.

We asked Slavitt to address Benjamin’s equity concerns.

“I feel like we’re making progress, but I feel like we’re not there yet,” Slavitt said. “This is still a great challenge.”

The president also asked all Americans to mask up in his first 100 days. Slavitt said that’s been a challenge too, now that some states are rolling back mask mandates. Slavitt told us that masks save lives, and the need to wear them won’t last forever.

The administration has tasked federal agencies like FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services with implementing some of its vaccination plans.

Neither of President Biden’s nominees to lead those agencies have been confirmed by the Senate yet. But Slavitt says the acting leaders are “experienced” and the agencies haven’t dropped the ball.

Read the administration’s full COVID-19 response plan here.

Senior Reporter Ted Fioraliso, Multimedia Journalist Natalie Grim, and Supervisor of Videography Timothy Knapp contributed to this report.

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