It’s been nearly a month since the Food and Drug Administration granted its first vaccine emergency use authorizations to Moderna and Pfizer. Since then, only about 7 million doses were administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At current rates, it will take years to vaccinate everyone in the country. Why has the vaccine rollout fallen below expectations, and what can we do next to course-correct?
It seems many of the issues with the vaccine rollout, as well as with testing and reopenings, stem from lacking federal planning. As early as October, the CDC released an interim playbook for vaccine distribution. The 75-page document outlined how vaccines would be distributed to you and me when authorized and available en masse. As I wrote for Forbes at the time, it was clear from this document that vaccine distribution would face difficulties. Like testing and reopening plans in the early pandemic, responsibility for vaccine distribution was shifted to states and localities.