President Joe Biden and his team have spent the first week at the White House while attempting to manually track down 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses which were distributed to the states in December 2020.
A report published by Politico painted a picture of what the officials have described as a messy transition for the Biden administration.
Before getting into the Oval Office the 46th president vowed to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic, which killed over 439,000 Americans. He also announced a goal to vaccinate 100 million people in the US in the first 100 days of his administration.
But Biden and his team have been facing challenges to keep the pandemic under control while simultaneously dealing with the COVID-19 vaccine shortage.
Where Are 20 million Vaccine Doses?
Biden's team is trying to track down 20 million doses that were distributed by the Trump administration last year December. "They are planning. They are competent. It's just the weight of everything when you sit down in that chair. It's heavy," a source familiar with the situation told Politico.
"One of the virtues of a well-run transition is that by the time you take the reins, you have developed some rapport and trust with the career people you're working with," the source said.
The report also added that the lack of data has now forced the officials of the federal health department to spend hours on the phone in an attempt to track those missing vaccine doses. Dr. Julie Morita, a member of the Biden transition team said that no one had a "complete picture".
Biden administration officials explained that the strategy adopted by the Trump administration pushed the response to the pandemic to individual states. It caused an information gap between vaccine distribution and when the shot is actually given to people.
"The plans that were being made were being made with the assumption that more information would be available and be revealed once they got into the White House," Dr. Morita said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that as of Saturday 49 million vaccine doses have been distributed by the federal government. But the agency noted that only 27 million doses administered by the American states.
Since researchers detected new variants of the virus in the US, it has caused fear among the people and experts that they could reduce the effectiveness of available vaccines and wipe out months of progress.
However, as per the current stats, on Saturday, the total number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 26 million in the US. But the deaths fell slightly from Friday, January 29 to 2,972. In terms of hospitalization, on Saturday the number fell below 100,000 since December 1. According to weekly data, infections have decreased by 14 percent. But the country needs as many vaccinated people as possible to curb the spread of the virus and put an end to the pandemic.