In the weeks before his inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden has been vocal about his plans to increase COVID-19 testing and vaccinations upon taking office on Wednesday.
While much of his criticism has been aimed at President Donald Trump, the former vice president likely shocked some of his fellow Democrats with a recent speech in which he laid much of the blame for slow vaccine distribution on a number of states.
“The process of establishing priority groups”
Biden’s remarks came during an address on Friday that focused on his plan to increase the speed and efficiency through which vaccines are delivered to patients nationwide.
“The process of establishing priority groups is driven by science, but the problem is the implementation has been too rigid and confusing,” he declared.
Of course, Biden also made it clear that he has no intention of following Trump’s plan that leaves it to the states to decide how best to distribute the vaccine doses to their residents.
Instead, his proposal is said to favor federal control of the entire process, along with the imposition of a centralized distribution plan for states and localities to follow.
Politico reported that tens of millions of doses had been rapidly distributed to various states, per Trump’s plan, but getting the vaccine to individual patients had been significantly hampered in many locations by bureaucratic red tape and even contradictory guidelines for recipients and providers.
“That’s the bottom line”
As a result, many in the medical community have been effectively paralyzed in their efforts to determine who is eligible to receive a dose as well as figuring out what can be done with extra doses if no eligible recipients are immediately available.
Reports indicate some of the much-needed supply has been wasted in the process, an issue articulated this week by former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
“The more rules we create, the more penalties we put in place, the fewer vaccines that are going to be delivered,” he cautioned. “That’s the bottom line.”
As noted by NPR, Biden’s plan would largely retain existing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, albeit with a few notable changes.
Among the alterations that the president-elect referenced in the plan he revealed on Friday are increasing the group of eligible recipients, creating more vaccination sites, increasing federal and state supplies, creating a workforce dedicated to distribution and administration of the vaccines, and a massive public relations campaign meant to increase public trust.