When President Joe Biden set a goal of 100 million shots in arms by his 100th day in office, people thought it to be overly ambitious. Now, he’s only got 25 days to reach his new objective.
Biden now plans to get to 200 million vaccine doses by April 20.
The nation has administered 133 million doses so far and is averaging 2.5 million shots daily.
Dr. John Whyte is Chief Medical Officer of WebMD and a public health expert.
“I think the 200 million is a good goal, It’s going to tough, I’ll be honest, but I do think it’s one we should strive for,” said Whyte.
Whyte said there are things we as a nation have done well, such as invoking the Defense Production Act and dispatching the National Guard to vaccination sites. But he said more could be done, like expanding the pharmacy program and getting the vaccine to homebound Americans.
“There’s even talk in some states to put limited supply in doctor’s offices. That would go a long way as well,” he said. “I think we really need to start thinking about more innovative ways to reach people, those with challenges coming to big vaccination centers.”
The president’s announcement comes as a fourth drug maker, AstraZeneca, is expected to soon seek emergency approval from the FDA, updating its trial results after they were accused of using outdated data.
The company now says its vaccine is 76% effective against symptomatic covid cases — that’s 3% less than earlier reporting.
The vaccine remains 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalizations.
“I think AstraZeneca is probably a safe and effective drug, but we should’ve had better info early —and much more transparency,” said Whyte.
At least 20 states are currently seeing a rise in cases, and with several variants, Dr. Anthony Fauci stopped short of saying we have rounded the corner.
“I don’t think you can declare victory and say you’ve turned the corner,” said Fauci. “You’ve got to do what we’re doing: more vaccinations, [and] continue to do public health measures until we actually turn the corner.”
A critical step to get to herd immunity is vaccinating our children. Pfizer annouced it is beginning clinical trials on kids 12 and under, but parents should not expect child vaccinations till the end of the year.
“Kids are not mini-adults,” said Whyte. “We have to remember that so we really need to look at safety and efficacy data very closely.”
With the move, Pfizer joins Moderna in clinical trials on children.
Researchers estimate that 75 to 80% of the population would need to be vaccinated before we can have herd immunity.
“There’s still a lot of virus right now and there’s still a lot of variants,” said Whyte. “People are still getting sick. Not as much as before, but there’s still serious complications.”