By: Titi Afolabi – Student Journalist
Over the past nine months, the U.S. has been plagued with a virus that has produced more than 350,000 deaths and 20.6 million active cases. Recently, more people have become hopeful because of the distribution and development of a vaccine, yet remain aware that the virus is still very real. Some believe with the new year underway and the vaccine concretely in existence, that the virus will disappear. However, the unfortunate reality of a prolonged vaccine administration coupled with the rate of cases, the virus will be with us deep into the new year.
For many months, President Donald Trump has continuously pushed a narrative that the vaccine would be ready and expedited for injection before the end of 2020. Although it is here, his claims to have administered 20 million vaccines before the new year are nowhere near into effect.
“We are delivering millions of doses of a safe and effective vaccine that will soon end this terrible pandemic and save millions and millions of lives,” said Trump.
In recent weeks only around 2 million Americans have received the first vaccine shot, nowhere close to the 20 million Americans he claimed would be vaccinated. The question of why it is taking so long for distribution cannot be fully answered, but public health officials and workers who are producing the vaccine at a record pace, are still learning and adapting to the unique storage requirements of the vaccine and how to administer them with proper care. With Joe Biden’s soon transition into the presidency, he has developed a plan that will speed up the pace of vaccine distribution to 100 million Americans in his first 100 days.
While Biden and his team are hopeful and committed to this strenuous task, there is no real logistical outline or measurement as to how the administration of that many vaccines will be possible under Biden, especially when following the guidelines of the “Defense Production Act,” one that Trump is mostly adhering to.
Public health departments have done amazing and miraculous work to develop and manufacture an FDA-approved vaccine, but the reality of Covid-19 is still alive and well. Throughout the new year, it is important that we behave in the seriousness and fervor at which many Americans were when the virus first hit the scene in March. Without that and the slow pace of vaccine accessibility and distribution, this virus and the death count will continue to be on an insurmountable high.