It’s all about passing the buck. No one wants to take responsibility for the extremely slow vaccine rollout. As the USA Today editorial board wrote, “In business, it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver. But when it comes to getting Americans inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines, the Trump administration appears to be doing the opposite.” They promised 20 million people would be vaccinated by January 1st, but here we are on January 5th and just 4.6 million people have been inoculated. The Trump administration blames the states, but some of the states blame the hospitals. It’s a mess.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference Monday where he remarked:
“The state is not dictating to hospitals how they run their operations,” he said at Jackson Memorial Hospital Monday. “That would be a total disaster. These guys are much more competent to be able to deliver healthcare services than a state government could ever be. We are empowering the hospitals.”
But where are the mass vaccination sites? That is something the state government could organize, but some politicians are taking the approach that it’s just not their problem. In Miami-Dade County, the biggest county in Florida, there are just a few sites where the general public (health care workers and over 65) can be vaccinated. The portal to sign up was expected to go live 11 am Tuesday morning, but people reported all appointments were full almost immediately. The sites in the county are reportedly able to vaccinate just 2000 people a day. To put that in perspective there are 2.7 million people living in Miami-Dade. This means, at the current rate, it would take more than 3.5 years to vaccinate the entire county. Something has to give.
The story in California is similar where the Los Angeles Times writes “California has received just under 1.3 million vaccine doses, but just more than 454,000 people have received the shots.” Governor Gavin Newsom admits the rollout is “not good enough.”
“We want to see 100% of what’s received immediately administered in people’s arms, and so that’s a challenge. It’s a challenge across this country — it’s a challenge, for that matter, around the rest of the world. But that’s not an excuse.”
At the current speed the country is vaccinating experts say it could take years to vaccinate the population. But the hope is that things significantly ramp up. The USA Today adds, “The irony is that the success of Operation Warp Speed in producing new vaccines in record time was the administration’s one true success story in a year of otherwise failed and chaotic leadership. Even that success, though, and what remains of federal credibility, might be tarnished unless officials at all levels of government can get shots into arms at a faster pace.”
*This post contains opinion and analysis