As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the United States is struggling to distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses, even as the virus continues to rage across the country. Although we’ve now administered about 15.6 million doses so far, the overall percentage of delivered doses administered (50 percent) and percentage of total U.S. population vaccinated (4.75 percent) are significantly lower than where we thought we’d be at this point—more than a month after both the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved by the FDA, and more than two months since the companies’ published Phase III clinical trial data showing both to be safe and highly effective. As a result, public frustration is growing, finger-pointing (feds at states, states at feds, feds at other feds, doctors at everyone) has begun, and many are questioning the U.S. approach.
It’s a pretty big mess, but one that provides some teachable moments. So that’s what we’ll try to examine today.
Where We Are Right Now
Before we get to that, however, let’s provide a brief overview of where things stand: