Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto Tuesday that the US is “certainly not at the numbers that we wanted to be at the end of December,” when it comes to the number of Covid-19 vaccines administered.
The administration had said that the goal was for 20 million people to be vaccinated by the end of the year. As of Monday morning, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid Data Tracker reported just over two million people receiving their first dose.
“Even if you undercount, two million as an undercount, how much undercount could it be,” Fauci said. “So, we are below where we want to be.”
Fauci praised Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, for publicly apologizing for some glitches that have gotten in the way.
“I believe that as we get into January, we are going to see an increase in the momentum,” Fauci said, which “I hope allows us to catch up to the projected pace that we had spoken about a month or two ago when we were talking about the planned rollout of the vaccinations.”
He said that “we really want” to get priority people vaccinated so that the country can get into “open season” for the general population.
Vaccinating priority people is “certainly saving lives, no doubt about that,” Fauci said, but “when you get to the point where you can essentially say anybody and everybody who wants to be vaccinated can be vaccinated that’s when you really turn around the dynamics of the outbreak.”
“We hope as we get into January, February, March and into April, we’ll finally be there so that the spring and the summer, we can really do a very good job of getting as many people as possible vaccinated,” he said.