“The first step is to have the supply. We’ve made a lot of progress,” Jeff Zients told NBC. “There’s a long road ahead, we need to continue to accelerate the pace of shots per day, and the American Rescue Plan, which is now over to the House, has the funding necessary to continue to accelerate. So, our goal is to get as many Americans, all Americans vaccinated as efficiently and as fast as possible.”
Biden’s speedier estimate for producing Covid-19 doses for every adult American made for an optimistic target as millions in the US wait to receive their first doses. The effort, helped by a new partnership between major US drugmakers, had quickened the administration’s previous goal of having enough shots by two months, but issues with distribution and personnel mean it could take much longer for all doses to be administered, leaving Americans wondering when they will have access to a vaccine.
Biden also announced last week that he would direct states to prioritize teachers in their vaccination plans, reemphasizing a commitment to returning students to classrooms amid a confusing administration stance on when and how classrooms can reopen.
Zients, pushed Sunday on the lack of vaccine equity in the majority Black neighborhoods in Washington, DC, said that “we need to fix this problem and hold ourselves accountable.”
“Unfortunately, what you’re showing in Washington, DC, exists in too many parts of this country and that is unacceptable,” he said, noting how communities of color have been hard-hit during the pandemic and adding that “we need to bring vaccines to people where they are.”
The Biden administration has tried to under promise and overachieve in rolling out Covid-19 vaccine doses to states in order to regain trust from the public, Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House Covid-19 response team, told MSNBC on Sunday.
Under Biden’s direction, he said, officials are trying to give “very straight answers,” talking about shortages and not sugarcoating information.
“When the news is good, we say the news is promising. When the news is challenging, we say the news is challenging, and hopefully that will help,” he said.