Proximity vaccination centers, enhanced cooperation between the federal power and the states, more prevention campaigns: Joe Biden unveiled on Friday the program he intends to implement at the White House, to accelerate the immunization of Americans against Covid-19.
“I promise you, we will manage this operation like never before,” assured the president-elect from his stronghold of Wilmington, Delaware, five days before his swearing-in.
Joe Biden, 78, seeks to eradicate the root of the economic and health crisis that is undermining the United States: on average, since January 1, more than 3,000 people have died from Covid-19 every day in the United States, and more than 238,000 daily cases have been detected.
A massacre that has not slowed down, far from it, the hiccuping start of the vaccination campaign. Wanting to show off as the man now in charge after the second historic indictment of Donald Trump, the Democrat unveiled new measures supposed to give new impetus to the largest vaccination campaign in American history.
His project is ambitious: the elected president wants 100 million doses to be injected during his first 100 days in office.
Gyms, schools, stadiums
For this Joe Biden intends to work with the Federal Agency for Emergency Management, responsible for coordinating the creation of local vaccination centers in gymnasiums, stadiums or schools. Some 100,000 caregivers will be mobilized.
The elected president also pledged to improve cooperation between the federal power and the states, so far “too rigid and confusing”. He encouraged the latter to open up vaccination to larger sections of the population: the over 65s, the most exposed workers, etc.
Nearly 10.6 million Americans had received a first dose of the vaccine on Friday, and 1.6 million the second. Too little: the Trump administration had promised 20 million people vaccinated before the end of 2020.
The vaccinations began in a difficult context, had justified the chief doctor of the United States, Jerome Adams: in full explosion of the number of cases and at the time of the end of year holidays, putting the medical teams to the test. Joe Biden, who castigated the management of Donald Trump, focusing a good part of his attacks on the subject during the two presidential debates, will see his action in this matter particularly scrutinized.
One of his measures has already been applied: he had announced his intention to distribute, once in power, all the doses of vaccine available, rather than withholding half to meet the deadlines for the second injection, but the Trump administration has since made this adjustment.
Thursday, Dr Celine Gounder, infectious disease specialist and member of the working group established by the future administration on the coronavirus, criticized recommendations concerning the vaccine “very difficult to make operational in the field”.
“We must therefore make things simpler,” she said, citing the supply chain or the categories of people eligible for the vaccine.
Future White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted on Friday on the “urgent need to respond to the Trump team’s failures in vaccine distribution.”
In total, more than 31 million doses have been distributed to various American states, according to information Friday from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, the main federal public health agency in the United States. But it is the organization of their distribution that is fishing in places.
And with around 3% of its population vaccinated, America is a long way from the 75% threshold beyond which experts say a nation will develop herd immunity. In proportion, however, the country does better than many other countries, including France, but less well than Israel or the United Kingdom, according to the data analysis site Our world in data.